Green Chemistry and Design: Thermal Paper Project
The intent of this project is to demonstrate the extent to which state grant support can stimulate green chemistry and design projects in the private sector. This web page will serve as a clearinghouse for updates on the implementation of this project and for other information supporting or generated by this project.
MPCA staff thanks the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Pollution Prevention Program for its grant that supported this project.
Hospitality businesses sought for Thermal Paper project
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency with our project partner, the Stratford Companies, is launching a statewide project to help reduce the use of thermal receipt papers, many of which contain BPA (Bisphenol A) or BPS (Bisphenol S), a common chemical alternative that is similar to BPA.. BPA and BPS are often used as developers in thermal receipt paper. Both are chemicals that can cause human and environmental health hazards.
The MPCA is seeking Minnesota hospitality businesses to participate in this project to assess the BPA or BPS content of their current receipt paper, understand potential human and environmental impacts and get assistance to transition into paperless point-of-sale systems. Participating businesses will add a paperless receipt option of their choice to their point-of-sale systems and provide data about the volume of paper and the amount of BPA reduced.
Learn more about the issue of BPA and BPS in thermal papers and the details for participants in the project by watching the videos below.
Several businesses have already indicated intent to participate. Any Minnesota hospitality business or non-profit is welcome. Hospitality includes restaurants, hotels, resorts, park concessions, etc. To find out more or express an interest in participating, please email Mark Apfelbacher; email@example.com with "Thermal Paper Project" in the email subject line ASAP.
Preapproved Vendor List for Digital Receipt Servcies. There are many providers of digital receipt services that can text or email receipts to customers. The following company(ies) responded to the MPCA’s Request for Information: Transaction Tree
Financial assistance — available now
We are pleased to announce a solicitation for applications for the “MPCA RFP for Hospitality Business Transition to Paperless Receipt Grant Project.” Minnesota hospitality businesses are invited to apply for grants from the MPCA. The available grants can be used to reimburse up to $1,000 of costs for subscription services that allow the business to offer digital receipts in lieu of thermal paper receipts.
Access the RFP, event #2000000980 on the SWIFT Supplier Portal.
Please note: There have been changes to doing business with the State of Minnesota. You must now be a vendor in the Statewide Integrated Financial Tools (SWIFT) system to be able to either VIEW Request for Proposals (RFPs) and/or APPLY for grants or contract opportunities.
Every company and organization doing any business with the state is considered a vendor. All vendors will be required to be registered in the Supplier Portal in SWIFT in order to view and respond to RFPs, sign contracts and manage payments or invoices.To register as a vendor, locate your SWIFT user ID, or update your vendor information, go to the "Vendor Registration" link on the SWIFT Supplier Portal.
For new vendors, please note that approval of your registration may take 3 – 4 business days. If you need assistance obtaining a vendor ID or completing the registration process, please call 651-201-8100, and select Option 1. REGISTER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE as this grant opportunity expires in October 2013.
Keep your new State of Minnesota vendor number, user ID and password in a secure place where you can find it easily. You will always need this information to access the Supplier Portal.
For additional information or questions, contact:
Minn. Pollution Control Agency
651-757-2208 or 1-800-657-3864
Toolkit for Transitioning to Paperless Point-of-Sale Systems
These two short videos provide further detail on the MPCA’s current assistance project for hospitality businesses.
#1: BPA in thermal paper: what is it?
This video provides information about chemical developers in thermal papers (specifically BPA) and introduces the assistance program and role of businesses that would like to participate in it.
#2: BPA in thermal paper: paperless point-of-sale products
The second video provides detail about types of paperless point-of-sale systems and gives more details about how businesses can participate in the project.
Business Thermal Receipt Paper Use Questionnaire
Businesses interested in participating can take the first step by completing this one-page online questionnaire about their current paper use. The seven questions take just a few minutes to complete.
Paperless point-of-sale database
Participating hospitality businesses will have access to the paperless point-of-sale systems database, which describes several available systems, many of which are offering discounts to the MPCA’s partners.
As the project continues through 2013, white papers and case studies with details of the experiences of businesses that made the switch to incorporating paperless receipts will be posted here.
This MPCA project is equal parts pollution prevention and solid waste source reduction to reduce bisphenol A (BPA) use in Minnesota. BPA is a reproductive, developmental and systemic toxicant in animal studies and is weakly estrogenic.
BPA is very useful in thermal papers and is used in thermal papers at point of sale in everyday retail outlets. Because of this, the receipts become an avenue for BPA exposure for all who handle receipts, and a mechanism for spreading BPA through the environment through the recycling stream when receipts are recycled into other paper products.
Recent studies have found that individual thermal receipts from retailers and restaurants can contain a mass of BPA that is 250 to 1,000 times greater than the amount in a can of food. Other studies have confirmed that BPA in thermal papers is easily transferred onto the hands of those who handle the receipt. While the rate of absorption through the skin is not completely certain, those who handle receipts as part of their employment have been found to have higher amounts of BPA in their bodies than other people.
While making paper more costly, protective coatings can reduce the amount of BPA that ends up on human hands. Protective coatings, however, do not keep the BPA from contaminating the recycled paper stream and other products. While there are papers available that do not contain BPA, a common substitute is Bisphenol-S*, which was recently evaluated by the EPA Design for the Environment program and thus far was not determined to be a clearly superior alternative. The results of the EPA project are documented in the draft report, Bisphenol A Alternative in Thermal Paper.
This project will target the hospitality sector, paper recyclers and other interested partners to:
- determine how much BPA is contained in the thermal papers used by participating partners,
- estimate how much BPA is contained in Minnesota’s recycled papers,
- promote switching to paperless point-of sale systems, or as a second-choice option, to switch to BPA-free thermal papers or a non-thermal paper system, and
- promote use of paperless systems or BPA-free or non-thermal papers to other Minnesota businesses
Request for Proposals: BPA in Thermal Paper Project
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) requested proposals from qualified responders to work with the MPCA to document and address the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal receipt paper used by the hospitality sector in Minnesota. The Responder is responsible for recruiting hospitality partners, coordinating and documenting testing of thermal receipt papers currently in use, assisting hospitality partners in researching paperless-point-of-sale technology options, and assisting them in switching to such systems.
The MPCA has awarded this contract to the Stratford Companies.
Request for Information: Provision of Paperless Point-of-Sale or e-Receipt Systems and Related Services
Companies that provide services, hardware or software that facilitate paperless point-of-sale transactions or provision of digital receipt were invited to submit information. Information provided will be used by the MPCA and shared with businesses that may be interested in such services.
MPCA contact: Madalyn Cioci, 651-757-2276
* Chunyang Liao, Fang Liu,and Kurunthachalam Kannan. 2012. Bisphenol S, a New Bisphenol Analogue, in Paper Products and Currency Bills and Its Association with Bisphenol A Residues, Environmental Science & Technology, 46 (12), pp 6515–6522, DOI: 10.1021/es300876n