For anyone concerned about how to dispose of their Coles Little Shop Collectables once the kids have moved on to the next fad, an organisation in Victoria has come up with a heartwarming idea.
The mini collectables have been in hot demand since Coles launched the range of tiny-sized supermarket products, which include miniature jars of Nutella, Milo, coffee, hand wash – even shampoo and Vicks VapoRub.
But in the wake of the big supermarkets’ ban on single-use plastic bags, many have questioned the wisdom of releasing a range of tiny plastic toys which will most likely end up in the trash once the kids get bored with them.
As one frustrated, environmentally-aware consumer pointed out, the plastic miniatures have even been found washed up on local beaches.
Distinctive Options, a disability services organisation based in Sunbury, north west of Melbourne, has put a call out on social media asking people to donate, rather than throw away, the items.
“We are seeking any unwanted Coles Mini Collectables!,” the company writes on its Facebook page.
“If you have any that you don’t need, please consider donating them to Distinctive Options in Sunbury.
“We will be using them to make communication aids for people with a disability and as part of our educational programs.”
Locals can hand them in while those not living nearby have been encouraged to post them in.
“Shopping in a supermarket can be very overwhelming for people [with a disability],” Sarah Heriot from Distinctive Options told Yahoo7.
“The mini collectables helps an individual to find one product when with something like coffee or tea they have more than one brand to choose from.
“The mini-collectables can help people select one. We can make up visual shopping lists, where we velcro them on to a shopping list.
“They can help to prompt actions – so the shampoo bottle is a prompt to wash hair, or the dog food prompts to buy pet food or feed your dog.”
The items can also be used for “augmentative and alternative communication,” where people without language can use the collectables to describe what they would like to eat or buy.
The idea has found favour on social media, with some even stating they would begin a collection just so they could donate to the organisation.
“So many of you are posting how you’ve finished your collections or how you have spares to swap (Not that I understand this craze but still…),” one person wrote.
“Please consider helping by giving them your spares to use … And for those of us who haven’t been collecting them, this is a good reason to start doing so!”
Another noted: “I hope all the people collecting donate them to organisations like yours and don’t just dump them when the novelty wears off.”