Social Power and My Nemesis, The Plastic Bag

You know what I dislike more than anything in the world, other than kiwi? When stores give you a plastic bag when you’re buying one item. It’s the most ridiculous thing in the world, especially living in the Motor City where almost everybody drives, everywhere, all the time. I’d be willing to make exceptions for walking commuters who’d like a bag, people riding their bikes, or people buying embarrassing items like hemorrhoid cream or romance novels (but even in those cases, get some re-usable bags, people).

But last night, I went into the pharmacy for 1 tube of toothpaste, and before I could stop him, the cashier immediately threw it in a plastic bag. I then made him fish it out of the bag and hand it to me bagless, because you know what? I’m fairly confident I can carry that tube of toothpaste the 20 feet out to the parking lot to my car and transport it home safely without the bag. Especially because the tube of toothpaste itself is already in a box. Pretty sure it doesn’t need another layer of protection. I just feel like the amount of plastic bags being used is getting out of control. I’ve even noticed that many grocery stores actually double bag groceries because the bags are so thin, they’re not reliable. I know preventing one bag from making it to a landfill won’t do squat when it comes to the environment, but I probably save at least 100 bags a year by following the “no bag for 1 item” rule. And if everybody else followed it…

Enter Social Power, a website that allows its users to identify everyday issues and come up with ways to solve them. As a user, you can share your issue on the site, and use social media to raise awareness of the issue. The more awareness you create, the more supporters your issue will get. Once 1,000 people give their support to your issue, it becomes a Social Power initiative. And that’s where things get good. The folks at Social Power (who come from conflict resolution and creative problem solving backgrounds) take over at that point – they actually take on the responsibility of finding a solution to your issue! So, depending on how much support your issue gets, there’s a chance that you’ve basically helped solve a problem by doing no more than entering it into a website, sharing it with some friends, and then sitting back and watching it get resolved.

Social Power

Naturally, I gravitated toward the Food & Beverage category on the site. Many of the issues are somewhat silly but still logical, like “Starbucks should make their ice for iced coffee out of coffee,” “Chipotle should sell nachos,” and “Seasonal summer beer packs should include a koozie.” But some of the issues are more complicated and serious, like “Restaurants should get a tax credit for donating food to the hungry” and “Companies should be required to label GMOs.” One that I think makes a ton of sense is “Supermarkets should offer all food about to expire at a 50% discount.” Seriously – why isn’t this already a thing? I used to work at a grocery store, and seeing the amount of food they would throw away was hard to watch.

Social Power

I also found some like-minded individuals who created and supported causes just like mine, like “I’d love it if Subway would stop double-bagging their sandwiches in plastic.” I agree, no need! Speaking of plastic, here’s my issue - feel free to sign up for Social Power and support it if you sort of hate plastic bags as much as I do. After many years of doing nothing more than complaining, I’m finally taking a step to change this problem, and it feels so good.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Social Power. Sponsored posts help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food writing. All opinions are 100% my own.

  • Pete

    Have you ever had the clerk, after fishing out the items from the unneeded plastic bags at your request, just throw the bag away because it wasn’t on those metal give-you-a-bag-for-everything hooks?!?! This has happened to me and it will make you lose your mind.

  • http://www.foxeslovelemons.com/ Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons

    YES. At that point, just give me the bag, because I can at least use it to pick up dog poo or something! Gahhhhh.

    Last week, a cashier at Kroger gave me a bag with just one bottle of Pam in it. I could tell she was already having a very bad day, so I didn’t want to push it. On my way out, I passed the U-Scan lanes, and I just re-strung the bag onto the bag stand thing there. But got many crazy stares in the process. Sigh.

  • Nancy

    I hate plastic bags too. Where I live, most places charge you for bags and encourage you to bring your own. I’ve made it a habit to always have reusable bags tucked into my purse for grocery runs. There are even some cities that have straight up banned plastic bags (bravo!). This is a great website – thanks for introducing it. I’d totally get on board with the Starbucks using coffee ice cubes for their cold drinks – that’s genius!

  • http://www.foxeslovelemons.com/ Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons

    I would LOVE to have a ban on plastic bags around here (or the system of charging for them). I keep re-usuable bags in my purse, my car, my husband’s car, by the front door, by the side door…not that i’m obsessive about it or anything.

    Nancy, do you still live in Vancouver? Just curious. I’m actually headed there this fall, so if there’s a ban on bags there, I’ll fit right in :)

  • Nancy

    Lori!!! Yes, I’m still in Vancouver! When are you coming? I’d love to meet up. Email me: gottagetbaked@gmail.com

  • http://www.foxeslovelemons.com/ Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons

    I’ll be in town with some friends October 9th – 12th. I’ll email you as we get closer. Don’t let me forget :) I’d love to meet up!