PLASTIC NOT FANTASTIC
Pick n Pay is facing vociferous criticism from campaigners who believe the company is sacrificing its green credentials to score sales.
In an open letter, Rhian Berning, the founder of Eco Atlas, an online platform that allows consumers to search for “ethical” businesses, berated Pick n Pay for a “conniving” marketing campaign that has unleashed “tiny bits of plastic made in China and individually wrapped in even more plastic, for free nogal, on the populace and landscape of SA”.
Hayley McLellan, environmental campaigner at the Two Oceans Aquarium, has been “quite shocked” by the Stikeez promotion. “This powerfully marketed campaign is all about increasing footfall – and therefore spend − in their stores whilst ignoring the potential environmental cost. Once the novelty wears off, discarded Stikeez and their associated packaging will put even more strain on South Africa’s already precarious landfill sites and waste issues in general. We also fully expect to start finding the figurines in our beach cleaning-up operations in the future.”
In response, Pick n Pay says that Stikeez will have a “negligible environmental impact” and are fully recyclable.
“But even if every single customer threw away every single Stikeez into a waste bin, rather than recycling them, the environmental impact would be very small, and would represent just a tiny fraction of total plastic waste in South Africa. In fact, we’d have to run the campaign for 150 years – with every single person who has ever got one not keeping or recycling them − just to make up 1% of the plastic sent to landfill in any given year,” it states.