How to escape the wasteful excess of CVS receipts

No more XXXL receipts.
long receipt rolled into self

Do yourself (and the environment) a favor. Nomadsoul1 / Deposit Photos

Nothing is more soul-crushing than an endless trail of receipts after a shopping trip. Except when you have a CVS ExtraCare card—then that experience is almost twice as painful.

Want to pick up a bag of Haribo gummies to sneak into the movies? Here’s a three-foot-long piece of paper to stuff into your pockets as well. Need to pop in for some at-home COVID tests for the family? Enjoy this wad of mouthwash and hand lotion coupons, free of charge.

Now, there are obvious benefits to having an ExtraCare membership, but saving trees or time is not one of them. Unless, of course, you find a way to ditch those unnecessarily long receipts.

Strategy no. 1: Ask the cashier, nicely

In 2016, CVS finally gave its 70 million ExtraCare members the option to go paperless. To do so, customers would have to pull out their rewards card at checkout and give a valid email address to the cashier. From there, customers would receive all coupons in their inbox, resulting in shorter receipts at the register. Members could use the coupons or ExtraBucks by sending them to their cards via a button in the message, pulling them up on a smart device, or less intuitively, printing them at home or at kiosks in the store.

This opt-out method still exists, but the rise in self-checkout counters has made it less accessible these days. That said, if you find yourself at a CVS with a few minutes to spare, go ahead and ask the cashier to make the switch to digital receipts and coupons. It’ll save you from procrastinating and stashing more junk in your drawers.

Strategy no. 2: Download the CVS app

Like with most streamlined solutions these days, this one involves a smartphone. After you’ve downloaded the CVS app (free for both Android and iOS), sync it to your ExtraCare membership by choosing Link to card. You can either add a photo of your card, type in the 13-digit rewards number, or look up the account with your name, phone number, email address, and zip code.

Once you’re in, go to the Account icon at the bottom of the app’s home screen and hit Digital receipt preferences. From there you can toggle on Digital receipts and have them sent straight to your email. To note, this doesn’t just keep your coupons from printing at the register, but also the invoice for your purchases. 

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The other plus side of the app is that you can easily look at all the available deals and ExtraBucks before you go shopping. Simply select Deals and Rewards on the home screen and tap Send to card for all the savings you want. They will automatically be applied to your purchase.

Strategy no. 3: Cancel your ExtraCare membership

This might seem dire, but maybe you’re at the point where you’re so disgusted with CVS receipts, you can’t even put up with the digital versions. If the 2-percent-rewards program just isn’t worth it to you, speak to a cashier or call 1-833-320-CARE during business hours. There’s no cancellation option on the app or on the company’s website.

What to do with your old CVS receipts

Should you decide to keep drowning in paper every time you leave the pharmacy, please act responsibly. All CVS receipts are recyclable—you can even toss them into special bins at the stores to avoid hauling them to the curb yourself. Just remember that recycling doesn’t negate all the water and energy that go into printing the ledgers. There are also questions on if the chemical coating on the paper (which makes it inkless) can leach into the environment.

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As always, Redditors have found ingenious ways to repurpose their coupons as wrapping paper, for example. Otherwise, you can always plan ahead for next year’s Halloween costume.