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Your receipt is in the e-mail

AllEtronic will give tree-saving shoppers the choice to opt for digital receipts.

Shoppers who want to save some trees soon will find a new option for rejecting receipts at the checkout counters of major retailers.

A service that will enable consumers to receive digital receipts through big box stores, such as Best Buy and Target, is set to launch May 16.

AllEtronic is an add-in for digital cash registers running popular point of purchase applications. When it recognizes a customer as a sale is rung up, allEtronic blocks the receipt-printing process, triggering details to be sent to its servers instead.

Consumers can visit allEtronic's Web site to view and export receipts to personal accounting software. First, they have to enter the first six and last four digits of a credit card number when they sign up for the program.

To drive home its tree-hugging angle, allEtronic displayed a receipt tree at the Eco City conference April in San Francisco.
To drive home its tree-hugging angle, allEtronic displayed a receipt tree at the Eco City conference April in San Francisco. Elsa Wenzel/CNET

Participating retailers will likely display an allEtronic decal near the usual lineup of credit card logos. Some shops may add allEtronic kiosks or tout the service in their TV commercials.

Retailers that still use paper receipts for internal records could continue to do so, but without printing a customer copy.

AllEtronic won't give users' e-mail addresses to third parties for advertising, according to CEO Isaac Lay. It will share with stores the names and addresses of users, but a contract will prevent retailers from snail-mailing people coupons and ads.

The company is seeking a stamp of approval from Trustwave, which would mark allEtronic as a secure service for storing partial credit card numbers.

AllEtronic touts its product as green for helping to save the trees felled for some 600,000 tons of thermal receipt paper used by stores each year. It takes 15 trees, 19,000 gallons of water, and 390 gallons of oil to make a ton of paper, according to the company, which is based in Fullerton, Calif.

GreenPrint is another free service built to attract treehuggers. The free utility shaves off extra pages when people print from a personal computer.