Despite pledging to stop handing out plastic toys with purchases of groceries on environmental grounds, supermarket Coles last week announced a new line of plastic picnic goods that can be earned by customers using their Flybuys card at a supermarket or online.
The difference to Coles seems to be that these picnic goods are ‘reusable’, and provide a sustainable alternative to single-use tableware that the business recently removed from its shelves.
“Through our loyalty programs, we have given customers the ability to collect great quality, stainless steel cookware, knives and now reusable Picnicware to add to their homewares collection,” said Coles’ chief marketing officer Lisa Ronson.
“Now that we’ve stopped selling single-use plastic plates and bowls, we want to make life easier for our loyal shoppers and reward them with a beautiful range of Picnicware that is designed to be used time after time again.”
However, the announcement has frustrated customers and left pundits confused. Dr. Louise Grimmer asked The New Daily if it was really necessary to have more plastic goods forced into our homes.
“I would argue that most households already have plenty of plastic plates and bowls,” Grimmer said.
“This… really takes the wind out of last week’s announcement, and I don’t blame consumers if they are confused by the messaging coming out of Coles. It doesn’t appear to be very consistent.”
And, worsening the situation, the plastic may be reusable but it may not be entirely recyclable – meaning it could very well end up in landfill anyway.
Heidi Tait, chief executive of Tangaroa Blue Foundation said the products would likely worsen Australia’s waste crisis.
“This is new plastic, we can’t currently recycle it in Australia,” Tait told TND.
“It’s going to end up in a recycling bin, stockpiled or in landfill. It’s not really helping the issue, is it? It’s just more new shit.”