Coles’ new Little Shop cops ‘plastic’ backlash
COLES is under fire for releasing a new range of its hugely popular Little Shop mini toys at a time when customers have copped a plastic bag ban.
From Wednesday, Coles customers will be offered a free collectable with every $30 spent in-store and online.
For the first time, the mini toys will also available for collection at Coles Express with fuel or other purchases.
The first Coles Little Shop launched last year saw tens of thousands of Aussies form or join online swapping networks, while thousands more attended swap meets across the country to complete their collections.
Little Shop 2 will consist of 30 mini replicas including iconic products such as Vegemite, Arnott's Original Barbecue Shapes, Heinz Baked Beans, Tip Top bread and Campbell's tomato soup.
A petition circulating online calls on the supermarket giant to stop giving out "plastic junk" to children in a bid to drive shoppers through the door.
"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. This is when most people are doing their best to bring their own bags, choosing less packaging on their food and saying no to straws. Here you are handing out plastic junk that will end in landfill or in our oceans," the petition on Change.org states.
It also questions the timing of the release: "Are you gobsmacked that Coles has brought out a new range of 'little shop' toys during Plastic-free July?".
The petition, which has been signed by nearly 1000 people within three days, then calls on Australians to boycott the chain.
"This is a slap-in-the-face for all people who care about the future of our planet. It's time to think of our Children and what their future will look like with all this unnecessary plastic," it says.
"Let's use our wallets as voices and not shop there anymore."
Planet Ark Deputy CEO Rebecca Gilling told News Corp Australia the organisation works with Coles to reduce plastic packaging. But the organisation has no say in the toy giveaway.
"We are very much in support of reducing the use of unnecessary single use items," she said.
"We follow the waste hierarchy which has an avoid and reduce ahead of reuse and recycle priority".
Coles did not explain why it chose Plastic Free July to launch the plastic giveaway when asked by News Corp Australia today.
Asked how the company can justify the plastic toy giveaway when they are urging customers to stop using plastic bags, a Coles spokesperson said the company "had many requests to bring it back".
"The campaign only runs for a limited time and customers who choose to collect them are able to recycle the wrappers at their nearest Coles through our in-store RedCycle program," a spokesperson said.
"For Coles online deliveries, mini collectable packaging can be returned to the driver, and recycled through the RedCycle program - one of the largest retailer-operated recycling programs of its type in Australia."
RedCycle allows customers to recycle soft plastics in provided bins at their nearest Coles store to be repurposed into outdoor furniture for preschools and primary schools.
The spokesman said Coles customer research shows that of the customers who collected minis last year, 96 per cent have either kept them or given them to family or friends who were collecting.