Over the course of the coming 12 months, this effort will involve a number of departments and seek to ease the impact on members and shoppers. The four stores of the Hanover Co-op record nearly two million customer transactions annually. Rather than simply wait for state legislation to be enacted, the co-op seeks to implement the change in a way that avoids placing an undue burden on membership or its broad range of shoppers.
“We know there are a variety of opinions on this matter, but as a cooperative, one thing we can agree on is that we need to reduce our dependency on plastics and this is another step, of many, for our cooperative,” said Hanover Co-op General Manager Ed Fox.
State legislation, which is still evolving, will inform the actions of retailers around the region. But in the meantime, the co-op’s plan is to focus on what is within its control and prioritize key action steps for the coming year. Fox emphasized that this isn’t a matter of simply doing the right thing, but “doing the thing right.”
In addition to programs to encourage the reuse of grocery bags, for many years the cooperative has offered environmental programs, including cork recycling, e-waste recycling, #5 plastic recycling, and paper recycling. Each year it also diverts about 150 tons of organic material from the landfill through its food-waste reduction programs. The EPA has honored Hanover Co-op’s efforts in the sustainable management of refrigeration.