A new Coles shopping promotion has faced substantial backlash online after it was introduced just weeks after the supermarket’s nationwide single-use plastic bag ban.
The supermarket giant is offering customers miniature versions of everyday items on sale in store for every $30 they spend, which can be placed inside a plastic display package.
Shoppers can collect 30 items in the “Little Shop” collectable campaign from July 18, including pocket-sized Vegemite jars, Colgate toothpaste tubes and boxes of Lipton tea bags.
And while some customers gushed over the promotion following its announcement, others failed to share the same enthusiasm with several slamming the supermarket over its continued use of plastic in the wake of their ban on single-use plastic bags.
“It’s ridiculous, especially given the environmental impact,” one Facebook user wrote on the Coles page.
“Have you seen the amount of plastic and other material that is just going to waste! How long will people collect this crap for before it goes either into landfill or into the ocean?” another asked.
“If either Coles or Woolworths actually cared one iota for the environment they would not try and one up each other marketing such prolific and damaging waste.”
Others labelled the marketing push as “clueless” and wished it would be a “sensational failure”.
Coles has insisted the plastics involved in the new initiative are fully recyclable, including its packaging.
“The Little Shop campaign only runs for a limited time and customers are able to recycle the wrappers at their nearest store through our in-store REDCycle program,” a Coles spokesperson told Yahoo7 News.
“For Coles Online deliveries, mini collectable packaging can be returned to the driver, and recycled through our REDCycle program.”
The spokesperson said the plastic recycled is repurposed into outdoor furniture for preschools and primary schools as well as being used to make road base.
Coles managing director John Durkan said: “We know our customers love collectables so we have worked with our suppliers to launch a new collectable campaign in our supermarkets across Australia from Wednesday.”
“We have designed them together with our suppliers to be miniature replicas of some of the most loved products on our supermarket shelves.”
The supermarket also has a range of additional items for sale including collector cases, miniature shopping baskets and trolleys, and a miniature shopfront.
The promotion comes after leading supermarkets Coles and Woolworths have struggled to transition to the sole use of reusable shopping bags.
In a bid to ease the process, both supermarkets have offered incentives to customers embracing the use of resuable bags.