Coles, after years of resistance from environmental activists and concerned customers, has decided to ditch plastic collectables once and for all.
The supermarket giant enjoyed widespread success with its collectables campaigns, initially with the Little Shop series which began in 2018 and later their Stikeez campaign, however it faced ongoing resistance over the impact the miniature plastic toys had on the environment.
The supermarket in recent years has moved to reduce plastic output across its stores as customers voiced their concerns over an excessive amount of plastic heading for landfill or even worse into the habitats of wildlife.
"Our unique position in Australia comes with responsibility,” Coles chief marketing officer Lisa Ronson said in a statement detailing the supermarket's latest commitment.
“We know that customers will understand the need to ensure our campaigns are more sustainable for future generations,” she said.
"We need to be committed to reducing unnecessary plastic."
The Little Shop series gripped the nation as children – and adults – raced to complete their sets of miniature in-store staples such as jars of Vegemite and tins of Heinz Baked Beans.
Coles' collectables decision predicted last year
Yet while it brought joy to thousands across Australia, there was also strong resistance to the campaign with many calling for them to be banned as they began to appear discarded in public, even found washed up on beaches.
Ms Ronson said the number one concern of customers from a recent survey was the store's plastic output.
"We are on a journey and understand our responsibility to minimise our environmental footprint and to show leadership in protecting our planet and climate," she said.
Last September, in the wake of Lego's announcement it would replace all oil-based plastics in its products by 2030, Associate Professor Ali Abbas, director of the University of Sydney’s Waste Transformation Research Hub, predicted a plastic-free collectables commitment was imminent from supermarkets.
“I would certainly see them stopping, for sure,” he told Yahoo News Australia.
“The toy industry as a whole, I think, will certainly start to diversify its materials rather than use plastics."
Woolworths reveals plastic collectables commitment
Rival Woolworths has made a concerted effort in recent years to move away from plastic collectables, instead opting for environmentally friendly alternatives such as its Discovery Garden range.
However, it has also been responsible for plastic collectables series Ooshies which have garnered similar attention as Coles' plastic offerings.
On Friday, a Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the supermarket will continue to place focus on environmentally-friendly promotions.
"We're always mindful of the environment in our programs, and they've become more and more sustainable over the years. That focus will only continue as we plan new programs," the spokesperson said.
“We remain committed to creating a greener future by switching to renewable energy, reducing food waste and plastic, sustainable sourcing and increasing our energy efficiency.
“We know there is always more to do, and we will continue to work hard on our sustainability efforts across our business.”
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