Woolworths customers have expressed their disdain with the supermarket’s latest promotion, with some threatening to boycott due to environmental concerns.
Over the weekend, Woolworths announced Ooshies would be coming back and customers across most of Australia will be able to start their collection come August 26.
The launch has been delayed in Victoria due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This year, Woolworths will be releasing a Disney+ collection of Ooshies, and like last year when the supermarket offered up the popular Lion King Ooshies, some people have taken offence at the collection.
While the supermarket’s earlier collectables promotions have caused sensations leading to fan pages on Facebook, swap days and frantic searches for rare figurines, there has also been consistent criticism of the harm they can cause to the environment.
On the Woolworths Facebook page, one woman said it was “unbelievably irresponsible” for another line of Ooshies to be released.
“We know from last time that these toys ended up in landfill or in our oceans. I just won't be able to shop here again if this is true,” she said.
Woolworths says many Australians ‘love Ooshies’
Woolworths then responded to the woman’s post, saying many Australians “love Ooshies”, and that this collection of Ooshies were made to be “durable” so customers can “treasure” them for a “long time”.
“Ooshies can be used in many ways - from storytelling, taking care of them as a treasured collector’s item or popping them on the back of pencils,” Woolworths said on Facebook.
“You can also bring them back to your local store to be recycled through Terracycle during the promotional period.”
By partnering with Terracycle, customers will be able to return their Ooshies to stores and the toys will be recycled and turned into plastic pellets.
The wrappers the Ooshies come in can also be placed in the dedicated recycling bins in-store.
And of course, customers do not have to claim their Ooshie if they spend $30 or more - they can choose to decline.
Customers brand Ooshies as ‘rubbish’
In response to Woolworths’ comment on Facebook, the woman wrote that not all Australians love Ooshies.
She said the “detrimental effect” the Ooshies have on the environment far outweighs customers having a collector’s item.
“They are terrible for the environment, they often end up in landfill or as litter despite Woolworths’ proclamations that these can be returned to stores and be recycled. This is such a bad decision,” she said.
“If you don't care about the environmental impacts of your business decisions, then you are not for Australians and you are most definitely not for Australian kids.”
She then urged other customers who felt the same way to message Woolworths and express their concerns and called on the supermarket to bring back their “seeds in punnets” - presumably their Discovery Garden promotion.
“They are such rubbish, I thought things were changing when they did the little plants,” one person commented in support for the woman.
“Almost felt like they were listening to us, obviously not. Shame on more plastic crap.”
Another woman shared her own post to the Woolworths Facebook page, saying the decision was “just appalling”.
“Very saddened and disappointed to hear that Woolworths are bringing back the plastic Ooshies that cause so much destruction to our already struggling environment,” she said.
“Really goes to show how short sighted and profit obsessed this company is. This decision makes plain how little you care about Australia’s future generations and the beautiful environment we are so lucky to have.”
‘Kids love Ooshies’ some shoppers argue
However, not everyone was against the upcoming collection, with one person arguing the “kids love them”.
“Millions of mums collect them for their kids. Most toys (if not all these days in stores) are made of plastic... so do we remove all children’s toys too?” she said.
“Our school has "swap" days for the kids so they can swap double ups with their fellow students... the kids love it.”
The concerns for the plastic toys potentially harming the environment is nothing new - last year people were upset with the Lion King collection and Coles’ Little Shop collection for the same reason.
While some Australians went mad for the last lot of Ooshies, discarded figurines were found on beaches weeks after their release.
Woolworths is hoping their new release of Ooshies will “bring more magic, surprise, and delight” to customers amid what has been a challenging year for Australians.
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