Co-op Transitions to Single-Use Bags in Response to Emergency Order

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu issued the state’s 10th emergency order to address the deepening COVID-19 crisis on Saturday, requiring grocery stores and other food retailers in the state to ban reusable bags and transition to single-use paper or plastic bags until further notice. 

“Our grocery store workers are on the front lines of COVID-19, working around the clock to keep New Hampshire families fed,” Sununu said in a statement. “With identified community transmission, it is important that shoppers keep their reusable bags at home given the potential risk to baggers, grocers and customers.”

In response to the order, the Co-op will transition from reusable bags to single-use bags and boxes immediately. The move is designed to help protect the health of employees and shoppers and to comply with New Hampshire law.

The governor’s order follows a similar trend in other states, many of which only recently made the move from single-use to reusable bags out of environmental concerns. In 2019, the Co-op began phasing out all single-use plastic bags at the registers, eliminating them completely from the registers in January, 2020.

Beginning Sunday, March 22, all Co-op locations will ask customers not to bring reusable bags to the stores until further notice. The Co-op will also suspend the sale of reusable bags to avoid confusion. Groceries will be packed in paper bags or boxes provided by the Co-op. The Co-op will also be exploring other options for single use bags to offer in addition to paper.

Want to Avoid single-use bags?

Try this idea, popular with many Co-op members and shoppers: As your items are checked out, put them back in the grocery cart. Take the cart out to your car, and transfer everything to your own bags.

Have other suggestions and ideas? Email us at

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Ken Davis

Ken Davis is the Co-op's senior copywriter. Email him at