Five Surprise Mini Brands have been criticized on social media for their use of plastic.
Popular children’s toy brand Mini Brands has made changes to become more sustainable after being criticized on social media for using too much plastic.
Surprise Mini Brands are miniature replicas of collectibles such as food, Disney characters and fashion items. Buyers don’t know what collectible they’ve purchased until they open it.
The mini plastic toys come in a plastic sphere which is wrapped in plastic wrap to keep the ball closed.
The brand is owned by New Zealand toy company Zuru, and since its launch in 2019, Mini Brands has become increasingly popular with children and adults alike.
By March, more than 17 million products had been shipped worldwide.
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But the brand, which has a strong social media presence, including its New Zealand-based TikTok page, which has 1.5 million followers and 31.5 million likes on its videos, is coming under increasing criticism. on the video-sharing platform for its use of plastic. .
“Absolutely lovely for the environment,” one TikTok user commented on one of his videos.
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“I love a lot of packaging with non-biodegradable materials,” said another sarcastically with a smiling emoji with hearts on it.
Another user called for the brand to use compostable materials.
Henry Gordon, global marketing director at Zuru, said steps had been taken to make the product more sustainable since its launch.
When launched, the figurines and surprises were packed in plastic bags to protect them during transport.
“After the first year, we moved away from that to reduce the thousands of tons of plastic out of the equation,” he said.
In the beginning, 5 Surprise shrink wrap was made of PVC, which is not an easily recyclable curbside material. Zuru then switched to a more easily recyclable material like PET.
“We then switched to post-consumer recycled plastic, significantly reducing our consumption of virgin plastic.”
On top of that, it had gone from packaging split into five segments to just two segments instead, which reduced the plastic used by 40%.
Mini Brands and Mini Brands Foodies, both launched in August, had capsules made from certified recycled plastic.
“For these capsules as well, we package the components in recyclable paper bags,” Gordon said.
“The products themselves are made from a mix of raw materials including but not limited to ABS, PVC, HIPS and paper – which is pretty standard for all goods of consumption, including the rest of the toys.”
Gordon said social listening and engagement with the “Miniac community” was important.
“A lot of that comes from direct comments from our community on Instagram and TikTok,” he said.
Victor Marques de Oliveira Gambarini, a doctoral student at the University of Auckland, said switching from PVC to PET could help with recycling, but if the two plastics ended up in the environment, it would take decades or centuries for that to happen. they disappear because they are not biodegradable.
“Adding recycled plastics helps, as most plastics are made from fossil fuels, which reduces the use of these fossil fuels. However, this will not change its biodegradability in the environment,” a- he declared.