E-receipts are future of saving paper


In fall 2008, the Rutgers computer labs began limiting how much paper could be used for free for printing. This helped to curb wasteful paper use and promoted responsible printing at the computer labs. While this has been a very beneficial way to promote responsibility and paper conservations, it is not the only way.

Receipts are wasteful, often ending up littered or in the trash. Also, they are hard to keep track of which may promote irresponsible spending. One way to save paper and promote fiscal responsibility is to begin using electronic receipts at stores on campus. This could begin with RU Express. Every time students use their RU Express cards, their receipt information would be saved digitally and could be viewed using the myRutgers website. In addition to all of the other information available to them at the myRutgers site, students could see what items they have purchased and where. This would be especially useful at the Cook Co-op Bookstore since, in order for bookstore members to get money back at the end of the year, they must present all of their receipts.

E-receipt companies already exist. One such company, allEtronic offers businesses e-receipt servers that can directly communicate with their point of sale software. Since myRutgers would allow you to see where you have used your RU Express, it may not be too difficult to expand this program to show you what specific items you purchased using the myRutgers website. This e-receipt technology could, if desired, expand to credit cards and beyond, but the RU Express is the easiest way to begin using them.

In the long run, e-receipts could save the University money. Rutgers would no longer have to purchase as much paper for receipts, and less maintenance would be required on the printing machines. In addition, fraudulent returns to the bookstores, for example, could be reduced since the store would be able to see if and when the customer purchased the item. Lastly, it will help the University's stores as well as businesses that accept RU Express to keep track of what their customers are buying so that they can better stock their stores.

If Rutgers switches to an electronic receipt system, it will save the University money while preventing needless paper use. With so many other aspects of our lives becoming digitalized, this is the next logical step for receipts.

Jessica Kurth is a School Of Environmental And Biological Sciences junior majoring in marine sciences.


Jessica Kurth

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