Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Weird Worries – Carbon Emissions From Paper Receipts Are Trivial

A useful guide to someone trying to get one over on you is when they use inappropriate units. They’re trying to fool the mind’s rule of thumb about what is important, what is trivial. So it is with this about paper receipts:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Campaigners say the unnecessary production of receipts released more than 18 million kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere last year, the equivalent of burning more than 40,000 barrels of oil. They want retailers to make receipts digital.[/perfectpullquote]

18 million? Woo, that’s a massive number. Total UK emissions are 500 million, we can make a real dent here!

Then we see that it’s 18 million kg, emissions are around 500 million tonnes. 18,000 tonnes as against 500 million. It’s trivia,isn’t it? A rounding error.

So, there must be something else going on here:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Matty Cusden-Ross, of the Beat The Receipt campaign, said: “Every year we print billions of paper receipts at the cost of millions of trees, millions of barrels of oil and billions of litres of water. This is completely unnecessary wastage. “Fixing this problem is simple and easy when there are so many better, more eco-friendly alternatives. Technology exists to provide digital receipts and opt-in checkouts so that receipts are only printed when absolutely necessary.” [/perfectpullquote]

Hmm, what is that then? What is happening here? Why do we have the Times telling us about how to get rid of 0.004% of the country’s emissions?

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Save the Trees Using digital alternatives, we can halt this harmful practice and save the millions of trees, litres of oil and water that are unnecessarily wasted by paper receipts. [/perfectpullquote]

It’s run by a company called Flux. Which, wouldn’t you know it, runs an electronic wallet for you to store your digital receipts in. It’s a marketing, a PR, exercise.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Receipts, rewards and loyalty that live in your banking app[/perfectpullquote]

That’s why we’re being treated to newspaper articles about the triviality of paper receipts. Someone’s trying to sell us something. And they’ve managed to sell that idea of selling something to The Times.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Flux, a technology company that is helping to fund the campaign, is working with Barclays to offer customers the chance to “turn off” paper receipts and have digital versions stored automatically on their accounts.[/perfectpullquote]

So, back to sleep everyone.

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