Dear Readers: It seems many stores now offer ELECTRONIC RECEIPTS instead of paper ones, and they are becoming more commonplace. How do you feel about these? Yea or nay?

Yea, if you don’t like the clutter of paper receipts, lose them or end up tossing them in a drawer. Less paper also is more environmentally friendly. So, e-mailed receipts are a good option. You can create computer files for your receipts, print your own copies at home and place in a file, if you want to.

Nay to paperless means that you must make sure your anti-virus software is updated, since some of the receipts may get caught in your spam filters. Unwanted e-mails and spam may start clogging your inbox. Also, the company MAY collect your e-mail address shopping habits, among other information. This “data mining” of info, when merged with other Internet activity you do, can provide marketers with a gold mine of personal information, preferences and even what you look up on the Internet using some search engines.

Whatever option you choose, do NOT opt for NO RECEIPT at all! When filing taxes, you may need receipts for your records, rebates or returns. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Did you know that in 1989, federal law required that the plastic six-pack soda rings be 100 percent photodegradable? In other words, sunlight SHOULD break down the plastic into small pieces over time (approximately 60-120 days, depending on the season/weather conditions). But, this depends on where you live and whether the plastic is FULLY exposed to sun and heat. If it’s buried in the landfill, I don’t think it will deteriorate in two months or less!

It’s always better to recycle the plastic rings or cut them into pieces before depositing in the trash. This prevents small birds and animals from getting caught in them and either becoming seriously injured or dying.

Here’s a hint: If you don’t want to bother having to cut up the plastic rings, then avoid buying six-pack beverages that are attached by them. Buy either cans in the cardboard box or the big plastic bottles. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I work in a very small office. We keep a dry-erase board up on the wall. On the board, we post a description of the items we have that we no longer want or items we are looking for. It is amazing how many times one of us has an item someone else wants, or is giving away something that another person needs. It’s our own recycling program! -- K.M. in Georgia


Dear Heloise: I have my everyday cosmetics that I regularly purchase from the department-store cosmetics counters. When there are promotions and free gifts, I save all the free items. I add them to my girlfriend’s birthday gifts, or bring them all to the office as a little surprise for my co-workers. -- Paige A. in New York

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

, King Features Syndicate