As the effects of climate change have an impact, people all over the world are changing their habits to support more sustainable living and working practices. Many individuals are reducing their carbon footprints by living and buying locally. Many organizations are swapping out their gas-powered fleets for electric vehicles and purchasing green technology. Lots of people are helping the planet indirectly, by supporting sustainability initiatives through donations and investments.
All the ways that people choose to support the environment involve some form of financial transaction. However, cash, credit cards, and digital payments don’t all have the same environmental impact. Even so, the payment process doesn’t garner much – or enough – attention in sustainability circles.
People appreciate having maximum choice when it comes to how to pay. At the same time, customers value companies that make sustainability a part of their missions and help their customers lead more sustainable lives. An important way that organizations can demonstrate their green commitments is at the Point of Sale (POS). Today, the strongest way of doing this today is through QR code payments.
Cash and Cards aren’t “Free”
The popularity of cash payments has been dwindling even before the pandemic accelerated the switch to contactless alternatives. The convenience of cards and digital wallets is a strong contender against bills and coins. Still, cash persists, and has a carbon footprint that needs considering.
When the Bank of Canada decided to introduce polymer bills, it calculated a lower carbon footprint than the paper bills that preceded them. The new bills are recyclable, and their lighter weight makes them easier to transport, producing fewer carbon emissions. At the same time, they introduce additional plastics to the environment.
It’s the same story with credit cards. They’re made of layers of plastic resin (polyvinyl chloride acetate, or PVCA) mixed with dyes. These cards do not biodegrade and every transaction produces some amount of greenhouse gas that could be minimized through QR code payments. Even worse, when plastic and cash are brought together in the the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM), significant amounts of electricity are used to carry out card-for-cash bills transactions.
Eliminate the Waste of Paper Receipts
Another by-product of the traditional payment process that demands reflection is the paper receipt. In a 2018 report, Green America notes that the United States produces 256,300 metric tonnes of paper receipts annually – the equivalent 3.32 million trees, 9.08 billion gallons of water, and 4.68 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.
Not only do those receipts negatively impact the environment, the coating on thermal receipt paper – which replaces the need for ink – has been linked to potential health risks for cashiers and customers due to the presence of bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA. Even worse, most of those receipts are thrown into the garbage, creating more landfill waste.
QR codes, on the other hand, offer a paper-free alternative. They don’t contain potentially harmful chemicals and they carry a lower carbon footprint. For customers, they represent a convenient, cashless option for transacting in-store payments. For merchants, especially small businesses, they are a welcome low cost alternative to expensive card readers and processing fees.
People are already used to many of the ways QR codes are being used to cut down on paper. Restaurants are using them to eliminate paper and plastic menus and manufacturers are using QR codes to share product details digitally instead of through glossy printed brochures and cardboard labels. QR code payments take this green mentality one step further to round out the checkout process without any excess waste. They also provide other benefits for merchants by providing useful data, such as customer insights and product interactions, in a cost-effective and environmentally conscious way.
Sustainable living means making the most of things we already have. The benefit of QR payments is that they let people use technology they already own and use daily – their smartphones – in a new and beneficial way. Most importantly, QR codes signal your organization’s sustainability pledge to people and to the planet with every tap.
The World’s Most Popular QR Code Options on OTT Pay
Environmentally conscious customers are getting increasingly choosey about their payment options and are switching to platforms that support their choices. The world’s most widely used payment platforms are already QR Code platforms. Forecasts by Statista estimate that AliPay and WeChat Pay will reach a combined user base of 2.5 billion people by 2025.
As one of Canada’s leading fintech companies and the most trusted financial service provider in the Chinese Canadian community, OTT Pay is proud to provide cashless QR code payments from the world’s most popular payment platforms, including AliPay, WeChat Pay (Weixin Pay), and UnionPay.
Paying it Forward for the Environment
People are looking for more sustainable options where they live, where they travel, and where they shop. QR code payments give customers the option of reducing their environmental impact every time they pay. Offering QR code payment options helps reduce waste, lowers carbon emissions, and builds a sustainable tomorrow.
For more information on serving your customers better with a range of convenient and sustainable payment options, including QR code payments, contact OTT Pay.