Is Receipt Paper Recyclable?

You know that feeling when you finish a purchase, and the cashier hands you a long receipt? Most of us stuff it in our pockets or purse and forget about it until we clean it out weeks later. But have you ever wondered if receipt paper is recyclable? The answer is:
it depends.

Receipt paper is usually made from thermal paper, which is coated with a chemical that turns black when exposed to heat. This process makes it ideal for printing receipts, but it also makes it difficult to recycle.

Thermal paper can’t be recycled with regular paper because the chemicals contaminate the recycling process. However, some companies recycle thermal paper. In this article, we’ll explore the recyclability of receipt paper and what you can do with it.

What is Receipt Paper Made Of?

Thermal paper is the paper used to print receipts. It’s coated with a chemical called “furor black.” When this paper gets hot, the furor black reacts with the air and forms a black substance. This is why receipts fade over time.

When you’re at the register and the cashier hands you your receipt, it’s usually warm. The chemical will react with the air and begin to turn black. Most thermal paper is similar to regular copy paper but contains more carbon.

It’s also very smooth, has a glossy finish, and is more sensitive to light than regular paper. If the receipt paper you’re holding is the type that turns black when exposed to heat, it’s likely not recyclable. 

Thermal paper can’t be recycled with regular paper in a paper shredder because the chemicals contaminate the recycling process. This material isn’t suitable for shredding because the particles are too small and could cause significant damage to your machine. Thermal paper is also difficult to separate from regular paper because the chemicals create a tacky texture that causes them to stick together.

Thermal paper can be recycled in some places, but it’s not always suitable for reuse. It contains heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury.

Can Receipt Paper Be Recycled?

Unfortunately, the easy answer would be no. While some cash register paper is 100% recycled, it’s often mixed with virgin paper, making it unsuitable for recycling.

The black dye used for printing receipts is an issue for regular paper mills. Even if you have a paper recycling bin at home, you will likely have to throw your receipts in the trash.

However, it’s also important to note that some companies do recycle thermal paper. Although recycling receipt paper is not always easy, it’s possible to do so. Thermal paper can be recycled by separating it from regular paper and then placing it in a chemical bath to remove the furor black.

This process is pretty straightforward, but not all paper recycling companies can handle thermal paper. You should check with your city to see if they offer a program that accepts thermal paper. If not, you can try contacting a local paper recycling company to see if they accept thermal paper.

Many paper recycling companies use a chemical bath to remove the furor black from the thermal paper before its ground into a pulp suitable for use in paper products such as toilet paper, paper towels, and paper napkins. Thermal paper can also be used to create energy through incineration.

How to Recycle Receipt Paper

One of the main reasons people don’t recycle receipts is that they can’t find a way to get them to the paper recycling facility. Luckily, there are a few ways you can get your receipts to the recycling plant.

First, separate the thermal paper from the other paper products and place it in a paper bag. Thermal paper can be recycled in most cities with a paper recycling program, and it can also be recycled at many office supply stores.

Another option is to ask your workplace if they accept receipt paper for recycling. If the answer is yes, place your receipts in a paper bag and drop them off at your workplace.

Are Receipts Considered Biodegradable?

Yes, but only under certain conditions. Receipt paper is biodegradable if placed in a compost bin and exposed to the right conditions. If left uncontrolled, the thermal paper will break down, but it takes a long time. 

It can take several years for thermal paper to decompose completely.

In a compost environment, the paper breaks down much faster because the conditions are ideal for accelerated decomposition. However, you can’t use thermal paper in your garden because it’s not the correct type of fertilizer.

What to Do With Old Receipts

If you’ve been saving your receipts, you can do a few things with them.

If they’re made of thermal paper, you can tear them up and compost them.

You can also organize them and use them to track your spending. You can use receipts as bookmarks, decorations, or even to wrap small gifts. You can also store them in a binder as a budgeting tool.

What Are Some Alternative Uses For Receipt Paper?

If you want to reuse receipt paper, you can tear it up and use it as a blotting paper to remove excess oil from your face. You can use it as a blotting paper for your face if you have oily skin and need a little help controlling oil. You can also use it as a blotting paper if you’ve applied too much blush or bronzer. 

Companies That Recycle Receipt Paper

Before throwing away your receipt paper, you should try to recycle it. Many companies, from local businesses to chain stores, will happily recycle it for you. 

You can also try contacting your city to see if they have a paper recycling program that accepts thermal paper. This way, you can help keep harmful chemicals out of the water without having to throw receipts out with the trash.


Receipts are very important when you make a purchase. The only problem is that they’re not exactly biodegradable. If you’re wondering, “Is receipt paper recyclable?” the answer is yes, but recycling receipts is not always easy.

Additionally, you can reuse receipt paper if you tear it up or compost it. You can also organize it and use it to track your spending. With so many practical purposes for receipt paper, it’s not going away anytime soon! 

If you’re curious to learn more about thermal paper, look no further! Here at Paper Rolls Plus we are your thermal paper experts since 1985.