No more receipts, please.


I have never been to an ATM machine that did not have a trash can directly beside it. This was something I noticed ten years ago in High School when I opened up a checking account and got my first debit card. I can recall being annoyed that I was forced to take a receipt to see my sad, pathetic double digit balance left. The receipt would get crumpled in my hand and then thrown away into a trash can that could have been labeled “receipts only” as that was the only item spilling over.full of receipts



While working on my undergrad, I became more concerned about my carbon footprint and the fate of our planet. For years I annoyingly took my receipt home to recycle properly and hoped that PNC may consider placing a recycling bin in its place but after learning more about recycling, I realized that sustainability was not as simple as replacing trash cans with recycling bins.There was more to the process met with added costs and also the logistical side of collecting the recyclables.

Over a decade later, PNC ATM machines have changed immensely. They now have the capabilities to deposit checks without an envelope. They take your card and give it right back, decreasing the instance of customers forgetting an important piece of personal information and having it end up in the wrong hands. Little mirrors can be found near the ATM to assist with personal safety, allowing one to see over their shoulder while withdrawing cash. After seeing these advancements, I came to the conclusion that the ATM machines did not have the capability to offer a receipt option.

My initial thought of not having to take a receipt resurfaced when PNC Bank added another function to the ATM machines. After using the ATM, a screen popped up. Interested in learning more about obtaining a Pittsburgh Pirates PNC Bank Visa? The function became available to choose “print offer details” or “no thank you.” So where is this option for receipts?

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Offering a receipt option would cut down on the,

“…250 million gallons of oil, 10 million trees and 1 billion gallons of water that are consumed each year in the creation of receipts for the United States alone, generating 1.5 billion pounds of waste.” (source)

Often times, the greener path is not always the least expensive and companies face difficult financial choices, sometimes having to choose between the environment and loosing money but that does not have to be the case. According to this website, the average commercial receipt printer lasts anywhere from 10-15 years and will use roughly $4,000 to purchase 10,000 receipt rolls. Simple math ( $4,000 x 9,000 ATM machines / 10 years = savings of $3,600,000/year) can tell one that either offering an E-receipt or the option of printing will save PNC Bank money in the long run, something not always apparent with sustainability. Updated software will be an initial cost but the technology is there as we saw with the Visa example.

I’m happy to say that PNC (finally!) plans to update their ATM machines according to their website.

“As an enhanced option, PNC customers will be able to choose an e-receipt. This means that ATM receipts will be sent to the primary e-mail address customers have registered with PNC. Customers will not be able to alter or input an e-mail address at the ATM. When a user chooses the e-receipt option, that user will be shown the e-mail address on file and asked to confirm that it is correct.”

It is not listed as to when this roll out will take shape but we thank PNC for its sustainability efforts and hope that more companies will follow suit, allowing for a greener, healthier, happier planet without added costs.

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