A nine-year-old has penned an impassioned letter pleading with Coles to “stop making Stikeez”.
The letter, written by Julian, was shared to the Coles Facebook page by his mum on Wednesday.
“My nine-year-old asked me to send you the letter he wrote,” Julian’s mother, Katie, said.
The letter begins by asking Coles to cease making Stikeez after the grocery chain launched its second round of the collectables on February 12.
“They just go to landfill and pollute the natural sweet air we breathe,” Julian wrote.
“Every day, six birds suffocate from plastic. Did you know that the first straw you ever used is still on this earth.
“We are the only planet to support life, do you want to change that. Every minute this planet dumps a ton of plastic, I am not kidding this planet is wonderful let’s keep it that way.”
Coles responded to both Julian and his mum on Facebook, stating customers have said they find Stikeez valuable in encouraging children to eat more fruit and vegetables.
“Our research showed that 31 per cent of customers who collected the first Stikeez range increased their purchases of fruit and vegetables and 50 per cent bought a wider variety of fresh produce,” a spokesperson wrote.
The collection is only one part of the campaign. In addition to the plastic figurines, customers can also pick up a placemat so children can track which food groups they are eating.
“Kids who had never touched broccoli or tasted a fresh tomato found it fun to challenge themselves to eat foods of all colours of the rainbow,” the Coles spokesperson continued.
Julian isn’t the only person to voice concern over the environmental impact Stikeez and other collectable campaigns have on the environment.
Coles’ previous campaign, Little Shop collectables, was tainted by criticism, with people expressing their anger for giving out “plastic junk”.
When faced with criticism in previous years, Coles has stated Stikeez are not meant to be disposed of, but should be treated as collectors items.
However, this time around Coles has taken a more sustainable approach.
“Customers can now return unwanted Stikeez back to Coles supermarkets to be recycled,” a Coles spokesperson said on Facebook.
“They’re also wrapped in responsibly sourced paper that’s fully recyclable in kerbside recycling bins at home.”
Coles also pointed out this year they have partnered with Save Our Soles, a recycling group which will recycle Stikeez the same way the group recycles footwear.
Despite this, Coles promised to pass on Julian’s concerns with “the relevant teams so they’re aware.”
Katie seemed less than impressed by the response she received from Coles.
“While I can appreciate that being Coles' social media manager would be a pretty tough job right now,” she said.
“I don't think the copy/paste standard reply is doing you too many favours.”
The few people who commented on the post did not favour Katie’s opinion. One person questioned what exactly she wanted from Coles, or at least the Coles social media team.
“What's the social media person supposed to do, want a personal reply, call someone, write a letter,” someone said.
Another person just straight up questioned the legitimacy of Julian’s letter.
“Come on Katie u know u wrote it,” the person said.
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