Ada Lee Hoi-yee
Consumers may help save trees by using the Paper Free Card instead of receiving paper receipts during shopping if the project Paper Free Worldwide was launched successfully.
According to the project, consumers could register online to get a “paper free card” with a barcode on it. When they present the card upon purchase, the barcode will be scanned and the purchasing information will be sent to the database of the project, which consumers can check on the internet a day after.
Mr Murphy Poon, Marketing Director of the project, said they do not have a concrete schedule on when the project will be launched. They are on one hand gathering potential users, on the other hand persuading retailers and shops to join.
He said currently they have no big promotional events.
At the moment, they are only promoting the project online, such as Facebook. But they were also considering setting up booths at environmental exhibitions.
The Project website stated that 426 people have registered till March 13. But Mr Poon said no retailer have promised to join.
He said Paper Free Worldwide will help the retailers to update their cashier systems to fit in the project and free analysis on consumer patterns. Free advertisements will also be offered on the website.
But retailers have to pay $0.1 per receipt to the project to cover the running cost.
Both Park’n Shop and Wellcome said they have not heard of the project.
Ms Bianca Yuen from the Marketing Department of Wellcome said they have no intention to join the project at this stage as they thought most of their costumers, especially many elderly people need paper receipts.
Dr Ludwig Chang, Associate Professor in Finance and Decision Sciences at Hong Kong Baptist University, said the retailers need to make sure there is a group of consumers in the project before joining, as whether consumers will join also depend on the number of retailers joined.
Dr Echo Wan, Assistant Professor in the Marketing department from University of Hong Kong, agreed and she said the project was not appealing to consumers.
“Although joining the project can help create an image that the corporation is socially responsible, retailers will not join unless they think their costumers will like it.”
She said consumers feel safe with paper receipts, they often need receipts for refund and repair. Although the online receipts can be printed out, she said consumers still feel less comfortable without paper receipts.
“Receipts don’t incur any inconvenience. It’s not something that you wish to get rid of,” she said, adding that the project can only attract a small group of consumers who have the consciousness of being environmentally friendly to join.
But local environmental group Green Sense thought otherwise.
Green Sense Project Manager Ms Ho Ka-bo said they appreciate the idea, becasue details on receipts fade away easily as most retailers are using thermal paper.
“The function of paper receipts is actually quite limited, whereas a purchase record online can be kept longer.”
She said “electronisation” is a trend and she was optimistic towards the project. She quoted the similar example of ATM receipts that people can now choose not to print the receipts form ATM.
She said waste on receipts may not be a very serious problem in Hong Kong, but “every little makes a mickle” .
Edited by Memory Meng Mi