Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying Ooshies have once again been a big hit for Woolworths this year.
As Disney teamed up with the supermarket giant to introduce 36 new Ooshies as part of its latest promotion, shoppers young and old have been desperate to get their hands on them.
They have been so popular in fact, the supermarket has run out of the collectables across all states bar Victoria.
Yet a dark cloud looms over the campaign once again, with questions raised over the plastic toys’ lasting effects on the environment.
This year, Woolworths has responded to shoppers’ concerns about the impacts the toys could have on wildlife, and have now designated Ooshie recycling bins in store.
However, one fisherman in Queensland has instead found a unique way of recycling and reusing unwanted Ooshies.
Mark Pace took to Facebook on Monday to ask his followers for more glow-in-the-dark collectables, even offering cash in exchange.
“Any one have any glow in the dark Ooshies they don’t want? Happy to pay $1 each,” he said.
And it was quickly apparent why the angler was desperate to get his hands on more Ooshies.
Accompanying his message was a photo of himself proudly holding a red snapper, caught on a hook which had used a glow-in-the-dark Ooshie as bait.
A close up picture showed he was using The Little Mermaid’s Ariel and Monsters Inc’s Mike Ooshies on his hooks.
Mr Pace also shared video of himself reeling in another fish, celebrating his success.
Fisheries biologist Erik Lang previously told Sport Fishing glowing fishing lures which mimics the emission of light by living organisms in the ocean can encourage fish to bite.
“Of course the more senses you attack in the fish, the better the results in getting them to bite,” he said.
Social media reacts to fishing hack
Mr Pace’s Facebook post was quickly inundated with comments from users wowed by his special use of Ooshies, while garnering more than 1,000 shares on several platforms.
“Finally a useful purpose for Ooshies,” one person wrote.
“I knew they were good for something,” another said.
“We’ve been doing it wrong...” one comment read.
Others said they were going to give it a try while some said they would go as far as pinching the Ooshies from their children.
One user took to the Fishing Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay Facebook group to reveal how she’d taken it one step further.
Lucy Millwood moulded her old Ooshies into the shape of lures by heating them in the oven.
“I’ve turned our Ooshies into something useful,” she said, to the delight of others in the group.
Not all users were as amused, and while the Ooshies were place on the end of hooks, some believed it posed another opportunity for more plastic to end up in the ocean.
“This is a really bad idea,” one person said.
“Plastic has no place in our oceans in any way or form,” another wrote.
Woolworths against fishing with Ooshies
A Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia while Ooshies have been built to be durable so they can be “treasured” for a long time, they do not encourage Mr Pace’s use of the collectables.
“While we don't encourage the use of Ooshies for fishing bait, they can be used in many other ways - from storytelling, taking care of them as a special collector’s items or popping them on the back of pencils.”
The spokesperson said Ooshies recycled in store will be repurposed into plastic pellets via a partnership with TerraCycle, which can contribute to making outdoor products such as garden beds, decks, fences and benches.
In the wake of Lego’s 2030 plastic-free commitment earlier this month, Associate Professor Ali Abbas, director of the University of Sydney’s Waste Transformation Research Hub, told Yahoo News Australia he believes plastic supermarket collectables could soon come to an end.
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