By Alix Martichoux
San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting took a cue from U.S. Senators (famous for grandstanding with massive props) when introducing a bill Tuesday.
Assembly Bill 161 aims to curb the use of paper receipts by requiring businesses in California to offer electronic receipts unless customers specifically ask for a paper copy. Ting, D-San Francisco, argues many people don't realize most paper receipts can't be recycled, so they produce extra waste.
But a normal, extra-long CVS-style receipt apparently wasn't enough to demonstrate Ting's point. That's where the poor intern/legislative aide/unidentified-guy-who-probably-doesn't-get-paid-enough comes in.
For the entirety of the 20-minute press conference announcing the legislation, a man dressed as a giant paper receipt stood on a stool in the background, somehow keeping a straight face.
As Ting gestured at the man-sized-receipt, he explained that most receipts are coated with chemicals prohibited in baby bottles, which can't be recycled and can contaminate other recycled paper because of the chemicals known as Bisphenol-A (BPA) and Bisphenol-S (BPS).
If passed into law, the legislation would require all businesses to provide proof of purchase receipts electronically as the default starting in 2022.
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"Why force you to take the paper? Because most of us, what do we do with this paper when we get home? It goes into the waste bin," Ting said in the press conference.
The penalties in Ting's bill are modeled on a similar bill banning the use of plastic straw in California, said Nick Lapis of Californians Against Waste. It calls for written warnings for the first two violations and a fine of $25 a day for subsequent infractions, with a $300 cap.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.