What Are Our Daily Receipt Papers Made Of? 3 Common Types of Receipt Paper

Have you ever wondered what your receipts are made of? Did you know that some types of receipt paper might be harmful to your health and the environment?

In this post, we’ll go through the most common kinds of paper used for receipts and discuss the top health and environmental issues regarding these materials.

Let’s go!

3 common types of receipt paper 

What kind of paper is used to make receipts? 

There are three popular types of receipt paper currently on the market: thermal paper, wood-free paper, and carbonless paper. Let’s have a look at each type of receipt paper. 

1. Thermal paper 

Thermal paper is very different from the usual white paper we use to write or draw on. What makes thermal paper special is a chemical coating on the surface of one side (also called the thermal side). When exposed to heat, the coating turns black and imprints an image or text. In other words, thermal receipt paper doesn’t need ink, ribbons, or toners – it relies on the heat-sensitive pigments in the chemical coating to generate receipt details. That’s also why these papers are called ‘thermal’! 

Thermal papers have a bright and smooth coating layer, so you can tell if your receipt paper is thermal or not by touching its surface. Another tip to identify thermal receipt paper is to scratch your receipt’s printable side. If it leaves a dark mark on your receipt, it is thermal receipt paper. Scratching produces enough heat to cause a chemical reaction and generate an imprint.  

A heat source near a thermal receipt paper

Source: Wikipedia 

Thermal paper is the most widely used type of receipt paper. You likely come across it daily as debit and credit card machines, ATMs, and POS systems all issue thermal receipt papers. For businesses that still use fax machines, those use thermal paper too. Thermal paper is popular amongst businesses because it’s cost-effective. There’s no need to pay for expensive ink cartridges to print receipts.

See also:

2. Traditional bond paper (wood-free paper)

Traditional bond paper, also known as wood-free paper, is a must-have item at many offices. Take a look in your office’s printer tray – there’s a pretty high chance there’s some A4-size bond paper in there!

When comparing bond receipt paper to thermal receipt paper, it’s easy to see the significant difference. Neither side of the bond paper has a coating chemical layer, so its surface looks less bright and smooth than thermal paper. As a result, the method of printing text on bond paper is different too. The nozzles of the printer’s printhead release liquid ink onto particular places on the bond paper as it goes through the machine. The paper absorbs the ink to produce receipt text in those exact areas.

3. Carbonless paper

Another option for printing receipts is to use carbonless paper. Carbonless paper, sometimes also called “No Carbon Required” (NCR) paper, comes in many formats, depending on the number of copies you need. However, it typically contains two or three-ply, and the top copy often goes to customers while business owners keep the rest for documentation purposes. 

A carbonless receipt paper roll consists of three layers: coated on the back (CB), coated on the front (CF), and coated both back and front (CFB). Carbonless paper is coated with small chemical capsules that enable it to generate copies without a carbon paper sheet. There are two types of coats: the back coat and the front coat. When someone presses or writes on the back coat, it reacts using minute capsules of ink. The ink capsules explode when the page is pressed, leaving a mark on the page below. Because these capsules are so small, they generate an exact replica of the writing on the top sheet. The front coat is constructed of a reactive clay layer that interacts with the ink to leave a lasting imprint.

Source: NextDay Paper

Is receipt paper bad for your health and the environment? 

According to Chicago Health, approximately 93% of thermal paper receipts contain hormone-disrupting chemicals bisphenol A (BPA) or bisphenol S (BPS), which our bodies can absorb when we touch the receipts. The chemicals have been shown to be harmful to reproductive systems in humans and animals and are related to obesity and attention disorders. You can find more information in the following studies:

Additionally, to create paper receipts each year, the U.S. uses 12.4 million trees, 250 million gallons of oil, and 13 billion gallons of water. It generates 1.5 billion pounds of waste and 4 billion pounds of CO2, according to the non-profit organization Green America’s research Skip the Slip (2018). What makes thermal receipt papers more problematic to the environment is that they cannot technically be recycled, as their chemicals would contaminate other recyclable paper products. 

Let’s go paperless! 

What can you do to reduce your exposure to thermal receipt papers? An easy way is to go digital. If you can ask for an e-invoice through email, go for it! Otherwise, if the business only offers paper receipts, you can use the Shoeboxed receipt scanner app (for free) to digitize it within seconds. Then, you don’t have to keep and handle paper receipts anymore! All the important data you need from the receipts are securely stored on your devices, minimizing your contact with receipt paper. With many other great features, Shoeboxed can also help you organize receipts in the best way possible! 

Try Shoeboxed right now for free! 

Best Ways to Store Your Receipts and Keep Them Organized

Are you frustrated with the piles of receipts taking up your desk space? Have you ever felt stressed when you couldn’t find an important receipt? Or have you ever lost money just because you threw away your past receipts? It doesn’t have to be like this!

This article will share the best ways to store your receipts effectively, so you’ll never have to worry about them! 

Why should you store and organize your receipts?  

Do I really need to store my receipts? 

This question has probably popped up in your mind many times. You may think once a transaction is successful, there’s no reason to hang on to its receipt.  

But, the answer is yes! Here are the top three reasons why you should store your receipts and keep them organized: 

  1. To get ready for the tax season 

As a business owner, it’s in your best interest to lower your taxable income and increase your potential for a tax refund. The good news is most of your business expenses qualify as deductions with the IRS. However, the IRS will want to see receipts and other related documents to verify that your declared expenses were truly spent for business purposes. That means no receipt, no tax refund! 

See also: Understanding the IRS’s Tax Underpayment Penalty and How to Avoid It.

  1. To reimburse expenses correctly 

Often your employees have to use their own money to pay for something on behalf of your company. They then fill in an expense report to get reimbursement. How can you verify if their claims are genuine or not? Receipts can help you! They let you know exactly when and where the transaction took place. Most importantly, receipts tell you the exact amount you need to compensate. This prevents fraud and unwanted disputes in your workplace. 

  1. To stay on top of your spending 

Sticking to your budget is not an easy job. One effective way to do so is to accurately maintain records of every transaction. By doing this, you can have a clear vision of how much you have spent, what to cut out, and which expenses were not worth the money. Consequently, your overall cost and cash flow management will also become more efficient. 

Receipts are indispensable items to ensure your recordings are correct. They are solid supporting evidence for every bookkeeping entry, providing error-free financial reports and helping you stay in control of your expenses. 

See also: How To Track Business Expenses 15 Best Tips & Tools.

How do you store receipts? 

Now that you understand the importance of keeping your receipts, we will show you the best ways to store them. 

There are two common approaches to storing your receipts: traditional and digital. We will go through each method in detail, and hopefully, you will find the solution you are looking for! Let’s go! 

Storing your receipts traditionally 

Traditionally here means you want to collect and organize the paper copies of your original receipts. Here is what you may want to do: 

  1. Buy stationery organizers 

Buying stationery organizers to store your receipts is never a bad investment. File folders, storage cabinets, tab dividers, binders, sheet protectors, colored pens, etc., are all great tools to keep your paper receipts organized. 

A binder is the most suitable choice if you don’t have many receipts. Place sheet protectors in the binder, then slide the receipts into the protectors. If you have a lot of receipts to keep, get storage cabinets.

  1. Categorize your receipts 

Create a system to sort different kinds of receipts. It’s best to categorize based on the type of expense. For example, keep your utility receipts in one separate folder and office supplies in another. Inside your utility receipts folder, you can create subfolders like gas, electricity, water, etc. 

This will save you lots of time when filing taxes because your tax form breaks down the expenses section into different sub-categories, too. 

Consider adding numerical or colored codes to each receipt to classify expenses (e.g., using a prefix of 111 or using the color red to signify utility expenses). Placing the receipts in chronological order is also highly recommended! All these extra steps can quicken your process of categorizing and finding receipts.  

  1. Avoid piling up your receipts  

Schedule a convenient, regular time to sort your receipts. If you usually accumulate a large number of receipts every month, you may want to spend some time every Friday afternoon to go through your receipts. If you have a small volume of receipts, you can wait until the end of each month. 

Regardless, don’t put the task off and let your receipts pile up!

Storing your receipts digitally  

If you want to leverage technology to store your receipts, Shoeboxed is your best option. Shoeboxed stores your receipts and saves you valuable time. 

Just scan your paper receipts, and the Shoeboxed app will automatically extract all of the important data and categorize them. A team of data experts will verify your extracted data and make immediate corrections if there is an error. Your newly categorized receipt data is then available to check and search anytime, anywhere you want.  

Super easy, right? Quick, secure, and accurate; Shoeboxed definitely changes the game in how businesses store receipts. 

Final thoughts 

Storing receipts and keeping them organized is essential for business expense management. Whether you choose to use traditional or digital methods, make sure you always keep tabs on your receipts. 

And if you want to go digital and save time and hassle, click HERE to save 25% off all Shoeboxed plans for a limited time! 

Download our new iPhone app today!

A new version of the Shoeboxed Receipt & Mileage Tracker for iOS was released to the App Store just a few hours ago – go get it!

A new version of the Shoeboxed Receipt & Mileage Tracker for iOS was released to the App Store just a few hours ago – go get it!

In this new release, we’ve expanded the options you can take after submitting a receipt through the app. So, you take a picture of a receipt (same as always), and now what? Swipe right to bring up new actions!

For documents that haven’t been processed yet:

  • Process automatically: Have our famously fast team of data verification experts enter the receipt details for you!
  • DIY data entry: If you need the receipt immediately or want to use the DIY option so that the receipt will not count towards your usage, choose this option to enter the receipt details yourself.
  • Delete: Remove the document from the queue. It will not be processed or count towards your usage.

For documents that have already been processed:

  • Export: Send a PDF expense report with the receipt image.
  • Delete: Remove the document from your list. It will still count as a credit towards your usage if it was processed automatically.

These new options provide a more complete mobile experience than ever before! We hope you find them useful.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback about the iPhone app, please reach us 24/7 at help@team.shoeboxed.com.