Coles Releases New Plastic Collectables Despite Public Outrage

by: Lucy Jones | 4 months ago | News

A Nutella toy from Coles that was found on a beach in Bali. Image source

Coles is launching another line of plastic collectables that no one needs. The supermarket chain is offering shoppers free plastic fruit and vegetable toys for every $30 spent in store as part of its new Coles Strikeez campaign. According to SBS News, Coles has already received 7,850 emails from outraged customers calling for an end to the promotion.

"I was disgusted to see that Coles has embarked on another promotion involving useless and wasteful plastic items. Your Stikeez promotion will cause a legacy of plastic waste," an email obtained by SBS News reads.

"Just like your 'Little Shop' promotion, these plastic items will find their way into creeks and the ocean injuring marine life, or will sit for thousands of years in landfill after they are inevitably thrown out."

Meanwhile, the plastic objects that Coles distributed last year as part of its Little Shop campaign are still being removed from Australia's beaches. Volunteers working for beach cleanup charity Tangaroa Blue collected Little Shop toys from beaches in Wollongong and Port Campbell Bay last year. One Nutella toy that was handed out by Coles as part of the set of 30 miniature household items travelled all the way to Bali, where it was discovered on a beach by an Australian veterinarian

Coles starting handing out these little plastic toys just after it had banned single-use plastic bags last year. The supermarket giant has been slammed for this hypocritical and environmentally irresponsible move. 

"I think it really destroys their credibility in that sense," environmental engineer Laura Trotta told The Guardian. "They are asking us to see them as responsible corporate citizens yet they just roll out heaps of cheap plastic products for free, and most of them end up in landfill."

Coles claims that the new plastic collectable campaign is all about getting families to eat more fruit and vegetables. But it is far more likely that the supermarket chain is trying to emulate the success of its Little Shop campaign, which boosted sales by 5% in the first quarter of 2019.

"Coles may have considered their 'Little Shop' promotion a business success but any financial benefit for Coles comes at the social and environment cost of a legacy of plastic waste," Greens spokesperson Justin Field said. "These plastic items will find their way into creeks and the ocean injuring marine life, or will sit for thousands of years in landfill after they are inevitably thrown out."

Jayne Paramore, the deputy director of the Boomerang Alliance, a group that has spearheaded the anti-plastic movement in Australia, also criticised Coles for disregarding the environmental impact these products will have.

"[Coles] have again placed profits ahead of sustainability, using these so-called 'collectables' to bring consumers into their stores, with no regard for the environmental impact that this plastic will have as it heads for landfill," she said.

"The fact that they have moved on to a new promotion just six months after the Little Shop was launched shows the lack of longevity that these promotions really have. Rather than expanding on the previous campaign, which might have kept the Little Shop items out of the bin for longer, consumers are encouraged to ditch the last lot, which are now 'old hat' and move on to the new sets."

Via The Guardian.

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