Coles is giving away mini plastic replicas of popular products at the cashier for customers to collect — but some people aren’t happy about it.
The Australian supermarket heavyweight, along with Woolworths, this month banned plastic bags from its stores in an effort to be more environmentally friendly.
An estimated 6 billions bags are used in Australia every year.
Here’s what people are saying on Twitter about the toys:
I love how Coles supermarkets eliminated plastic shopping bags for environmental reasons, only to start giving away free plastic toys with every $30 you spend…????
— David Chilcott (@onepotchef) July 20, 2018
@Coles how have you got this so wrong? We were given 5 of these 'toys' after our shop today. Not only are we trying to ⬇️ single use plastic, but when I open a packet it's a toy plastic water bottle!? No one sat around the boardroom table at HQ & thought ???????? @sunriseon7 @smh
— Licia Heath (@LiciaHeath) July 20, 2018
— Me (@l_teare) July 20, 2018
— Dorothy Broom (@DoroinOz) July 19, 2018
All the banned plastic bags were turned into plastic toys so kids could bug their parents to go to Coles
— Anna (@in_geardagum) July 19, 2018
@Coles what’s this anti plastic bag push then you promote this plastic toy crap. Shameless chance to charge for shopping bags and virtue signal, while appealing to the kids with crap. Hypocritical and cynical Coles. #pathetic #devious #shoveitcoles pic.twitter.com/8TvFLhDMe7
— Noosa (@madeinnoosa) July 19, 2018
How can @Coles get rid of plastic bags and then hand out all these little toys made out of plastic, wrapped in plastic? Are they really serious about the environment?
— Andrew Holmes (@61Bananas) July 19, 2018
In a response to one customer on the social media platform, Coles said:
“Thanks for your feedback. We know many of our customers love collectables and we have designed them together with our suppliers to be miniature replicas of some of the most popular products on our supermarket shelves. The idea behind Little Shop is that customers can keep and collect them rather than throw them out. When customers are at the supermarket they have a choice as to whether they would like to receive a mini collectable or not.”
In a separate statement to Business Insider, a Coles spokesperson said:
At Coles we take our responsibility for managing our environmental and social impacts seriously. As a business we are committed recycling and minimising waste. We have been overwhelmed by customer response to Little Shop. We know that customers are keeping the mini collectables and accessories, reusing them on a regular basis or sharing them with their friends and family. Whilst the mini collectables and accessories are not made from recyclable materials, our customers and enjoying and keeping them for the future which means they aren’t heading to landfill. The Little Shop campaign only runs for a limited time and customers are able to recycle the wrappers at their nearest store through our in-store REDCycle program.
While many are angered by move, there are some who are enjoying the collectables — and making money from them.
The toys are free with every purchase over $30, and started being given away in stores on Wednesday. There are 30 to collect in total.
Others have set up groups on Facebook to meet up and exchange the collectables.
At the time of publishing, Business Insider counted at least 17 groups, some of which had as many as 5,400 members.
Coles will also hold “Swap Days” where those who want to trade their collectables can do so with others.
The Little Shop campaign runs until August 28, or while stocks last.
Coles isn’t the only supermarket to feel the pressure from consumer since announcing the plastic ban, Woolworths has also copped flak for its use of unnecessary plastic packaging.
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