Both Woolworths and Coles’ limited edition collections have been subject to both public scrutiny and hysteria.
As soon as Coles launched the Little Shop Two collection, people were calling for a boycott saying the supermarket was giving out “plastic junk”.
“This is when most people are doing their best to bring their own bags, choosing less packaging on their foods and saying no to straws,” a petition to ban the collectables said.
“Here you are handing out plastic junk that will end in landfill or in our oceans.”
Not wanting to lose out to their competitor, Woolworths announced a limited edition, Lion King Ooshie campaign, a range of plastic pencil toys.
Both promotions, which started on July 17, coincided with the Plastic Free July campaign.
Since the popularity of these marketing campaigns, shoppers have called for the chain stores to promote environmentally-friendly collectables, in place of plastic toys.
‘Little Garden’ is an environmentally friendly promotion New Zealand supermarket New World launched to great success.
Little Garden ran through all New World stores in New Zealand and similar to the deal with the Little Shop and Ooshie promotions, it ran for a limited time and customers had to spend a minimum amount to claim their reward.
Instead of plastic toys, Little Garden gave away one seedling, for every $40 spent in store.
Each kit included a seed mat or a seed sachet, a soil tablet (a compressed growing medium), a seed label and a fully biodegradable pot.
When the campaign ran in 2017, there were 23 different seedling kits to collect - and kids had the chance of collecting fruit, vegetable, herb and flower seedlings.
Kinderling Kids Radio shared an article which called for a more sustainable promotion from Coles and Woolworths, which got people talking online.
“I’d love to see this as a promotion instead of little collectables that mess up my house and then go to landfill,” one woman posted on the Coles Facebook page.
“Compostable pots + packet of seeds. Easy, educational, and not friggin plastic,” another woman said.
Coles focus remains on Little Shop collectables
A Coles spokesperson said the focus is the current collectables program and the new companion app they launched.
The spokesperson said the company was “overwhelmed” by the popularity of last year’s campaign and customers are enjoying the experience even more with the launch of their new app.
Last year, a woman came across one of the Little Shop collectables washed up on a beach in Bali. It was unclear whether the toy was brought over by tourists, or if it travelled through the ocean.
However, Coles said shoppers love the minis so much, they keep them rather than discard them.
“We had so many requests to bring it back and customers told us they loved to collect and keep their minis,” a spokesperson said.
“A customer poll told us that 96 per cent of those who collected the minis, still have them.”
“The campaign only runs for a limited time and customers are able to recycle the wrappers at their nearest Coles through our in-store RedCycle program,” the spokesperson said.
“For Coles online deliveries, mini collectable packaging can be returned to the driver, and recycled through our RedCycle program.”
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