Are our major supermarkets selling out the environment?

An Aussie slams Coles Little Shop campaign after spotting toy on Indonesian beach

Our major supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths have been accused of lining their pockets rather than helping the environment.

In a hypocritical move when most people are doing their best to bring their own reusable bags, choosing less packaging on their food and saying no to straws, they launch a plastic extravaganza and enlist parents to do their bidding.

Both supermarket giants are trying to replicate the success of Coles’ original Plastic toy promotion, which analysts estimate pocketed the supermarket $200 million in extra revenue last year.

June 20, 2018 was the date Coles and Woolworths both pledged to reduce their role in contributing to plastic pollution and see the removal of 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags from circulation each year.

But is that where their environmentally friendly plastic affair ends.

2000 miles from the nearest continent, Midway Island in the North Pacific Ocean, is the home of the Albatross. The island is littered in plastic, which the albatross population ingest causing a shocking and painful death.

A Coles Media release described ‘Little Shop’ collectables as a “phenomenon”, “hugely popular” and “incredibly cute,” while making no environmental statement about the plastic toys.

However Woolworths said in a Media Release that their Lion King Ooshies were made from FSC material – The Forest Stewardship Council – which means the product is made from wood or wood based product or contains wood. There are three types of FSC labels – 100%, FSC Mix or FSC Recycled.

Although Woolworths failed to identify which label, they also stated they had established a partnership with TerraCycle to turn any pre-loved Ooshies into plastic pellets which would then be used to make outdoor products such as garden beds, decks, fences and benches.

Meanwhile Australians nationwide have started petitions to ban the toys.

A petition by Annabel Henriques in Melbourne states enough is enough. When are these retail giants going to take some responsibility for the sad state of the planet, and the plastic strangling wildlife and killing thousands in slow torturous deaths as they feed on plastic. 

The petition has 109 864 signatures and it’s not the only one.

In another petition Sarah Coates said Wow.. Coles.. just wow.. You have just proved you really do not care for our children’s future by bringing these so called “collectables” back.

Ms Coates said it’s time to think of our children and what their future will look like with all this unnecessary plastic. 

Plastic from last year’s Little Shop have been found washed-up on beaches, and waste management experts say the non-reusable items could be worse for the environment than plastic bags.

Dr Trevor Thornton, a lecturer in hazardous materials management at Deakin University, told ABC, these toys probably use more plastics than the bags…and they’re not being recycled at the end of the day.

On July 31, 2019, just three days ago, a Sea Shepherd Australia Marine Debris Campaign volunteer claimed to have found several Coles Stikeez figurines toys on a Perth beach.

The Stikeez promotion was designed to encourage healthy eating habits among children however for an animal there’s nothing healthy about a stomach full of plastic.

Parents need to start being more mindful of the impact kids’ toys are making on the environment and be the change.

Say no to plastic collectables.


Melissa Coleman View All →

I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and impressed by the influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. I love engaging with the projects I work on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of stories and articles I feel are worth writing about.

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