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## Greentailing and the 64 Thousand Tree Question – Can Reducing POS Paper Consumption Save the Planet?

Is thermal paper consumption at checkout by point of sale ticket printers the next target for Greentailers is there a bid for carbon neutrality?

Thermal ticket printers in retail stores consume hundreds of thousands of rolls of thermal paper every day. They do this while going about their business of printing receipts which are invariably discarded within an hour of leaving the store. Retailers with an eye on the mood of environmentally conscious consumers are constantly looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint, and paper consumption at the point of sale could be an attractive area to focus on. Especially considering that any savings in paper consumption would not only help the environment but also help reduce store costs.

In this article we are quantifying how much thermal paper a typical 700-store retail chain would use in a day and a year, and the impact that streamlining paper use could have on an organization’s carbon footprint .

I selected 700 stores as a base because in the market I’m looking at, Australia, there are two major players in the supermarket space, each with over 700 stores in operation.

In a typical supermarket in Australia, a POS checkout lane will consume an average of 3.5 rolls of thermal paper per day. The weight of a roll of thermal paper consists of 333 grams of real paper. An average supermarket will have at least 10 checkout lanes.

**Doing the basic math, the argument for saving paper becomes compelling:**

- 700 retail stores x 10 lanes per store = 7000 shopping lanes for this retail chain
- 7000 box lanes x 3.5 rolls of thermal paper per day =
**24,500 rolls of paper/day.** - 24,500 rolls of paper x 333 grams/roll = 8,158,500 grams in total, which is equivalent to
**8.1585 tons of paper per day.**

This looks like a lot of paper, and it is! It takes approximately 22 trees to make a single ton of thermal paper. So, in our 700-store scenario above, where the retail chain consumes on average more than 8 tons of paper each day of operation, this equates to:

**8.1585 tons of paper per day x 22 trees per ton = 179 trees per day**

Most supermarkets operate for at least 360 days in a given year, and this daily consumption of trees really skyrockets when you extrapolate these numbers, because the number of trees consumed annually suddenly increases to…

**179 trees consumed per day x 360 days of operation = 64,440 trees per year!**

If a green tail company could reduce its paper consumption by 50%, it would save 32,000 trees each year, 320,000 trees in a decade.

Multiply that number by how many retail chains there are, and we’re talking literally millions of mature trees that are so far proving to be the best carbon-sucking device available on the planet.

**Can greentailers make a difference by reducing paper consumption? **

Sure they can – a new generation of green printer technology, or eco-printers, is available to save up to 50% of paper. The question now is whether greentailers have the will to move on.

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