Legislation to Protect the Environment Takes An Interesting Approach in Norway

There have been a flurry of legislative changes in both the United States and abroad that have been geared towards protecting the environment. Many states, cities, and countries have been proposing and passing single use plastic bans, most prominently against the use of plastic straws. Many have passed plastic bag bans and the move is now to even charge for the use of paper bags rather than providing your own reusable bags. In New Jersey, in one of the most sweeping proposals in the country, the legislature is drafting a bill to ban single use plastic carryout bags, plastic straws, and polystyrene food containers, while also imposing a 10 cents fee on paper bags.

Norway has taken protecting the environment, and saving shop owners some money, even further. Norway currently has a bookkeeping regulation (2016/1752) that requires retailers to issue paper receipts. The change proposed on September 21 would no longer require retailers to provide paper receipts when a credit or debit card is used for payment, but would still require receipts for cash payments. The belief is that many receipts are just ending up in the trash, wasting both money and environmental resources. Although there are no official estimates about potential cost and environmental savings, a festival organizer estimated that the change in regulation could save 850 paper rolls, which weigh 200kg each during a single event. The proposed change would go into effect January 1, 2019 if approved, which it is expected to be.

Marcus Hoy, Norway to Abolish Retail Paper Receipt Requirements, Bloomberg Tax, Sept. 28, 2018, available at: https://www.bna.com/norway-abolish-retail-n73014482884/

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