Georgina Guedes

Are Stikeez really all that bad?

2016-11-01 15:08

The Stikeez frenzy is back on. Before they'd even seen the displays in the shops, my children were demanding "Under the Sea Stikeez" with desperation and fervour. It's like they learnt about them through osmosis, or chemtrails or something.

At the same time, a couple of my friends posted some thoughtful (and some outraged) updates on social media, expressing their concern (or rage) that these little bits of unnecessary plastic were once again a part of our lives.

This put me in something of a quandary. On the one hand, I had my children – as recipients of marketing – feeling terribly excited about a phenomenon. "We get a free one for every R150 we spend at Pick n Pay, mom!" On the other, I had my friends' (and my own) very realistic environmental concerns.

Getting my Stikeez facts straight

So I did a bit of research. The first thing I learnt was that Stikeez are fully recyclable. This means that conscientious consumers can, when their kids are done with their Stikeez collections, drop them in a recycling bin for reuse in some other plastic creation.

The second thing I learnt was that Pick n Pay would have to run the campaign for 150 years without one person recycling a single Stickeez to make up 1% of the current plastic we send to landfill every year in South Africa.

Now, while "Stikeez are only a small part of the problem" isn't much of a defence against contributing to the problem, what we should all be concerned with is not just one company’s promotional campaign, but our consumption of all single-use plastic products.

For example, why do single avos need to come in a beautiful pea-green boat for one? Do we really need to get a plastic fork with our takeaway lunches? Beverages don't absolutely have to be sucked through a straw to taste good. And the bottles from mineral water remain one of the worst plastic pollutants on the planet.

Stop your own indulgent plastic use

If you are determined to minimise your plastics footprint, by all means talk your kids down from their Stikeez frenzy. But if you’re taking a stand on this one campaign, instead of cutting your own consumption of pointless, single-use plastic, then you’re not making much of a difference to the planet – not really.

Don't spoil your kids' fun while sipping on a bottle of mineral water in the checkout queue, is all I'm saying. And if you do give in to their heartfelt pleas to accept a small, free token (read marketing tool) from one of our country's leading retailers, be sure to pop your extras in a recycle bin, along with all the other plastic junk you should be recycling.

Read more on:    pick n pay  |  stikeez
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