07/09/2011 04:44 pm ET | Updated Sep 08, 2011

Retailers Go Green: Ditching Paper And Emailing Receipts

Apple customers have been used to it for years, but now more retailers are following in the tech giant's footsteps by emailing receipts to their customers.

Big chain stores including Nordstrom and Gap have started offering e-receipts over the past few months and even small business are starting to embrace the environmentally friendly option as well, reports USA Today.

In five years, up to 60 percent of retailers will go paperless, a Nordstrom spokesman told The Boston Herald.

Those who can't stand keeping a wallet full of receipts will be thrilled, but some consumers won't see this as a good move. It takes more time as cashiers have to ask each customer for their email address and some view it as a ploy to market online directly to customers, says USA Today.

It's part of a growing effort by retailers to electronically reach out to consumers via their smartphones and computers. They send emails and text messages alerting consumers to deals. They have websites and Facebook pages and smartphone apps --all aimed at making the store more than just a bricks-and-mortar shop. Typically, emailed receipts will contain offers for consumers to receive coupons and other deals from retailers in the near future.

But customers shouldn't worry about stores abusing their email addresses, as it's a service that's more about offering something the customer will appreciate, John Talbott, assistant director of Indiana University's Center for Education and Research in Retailing told USA Today.

In 2008 Best Buy and Target began testing AllEtronic to provide customers with emailed receipts. The company boasts their service as "green" for helping to save the trees felled for about 600,00 tons of thermal receipt paper used by stores each year. And it takes 15 trees, 19,000 gallons of water and 390 gallons of oil to make one ton of paper, the company told CNET.