Trash turns to treasure with Countdown’s new collectables

Ever wondered where the bits and pieces around your house go when you’re done with them? Ordinary things like fridges, suitcases, and even your old swimming goggles? Well, soon they’ll be turning up at your local Countdown store as Countdown Bricks.

Made from 80 per cent recycled plastic, Countdown Bricks lets customers build their own environmentally-friendly supermarket, complete with aisles of shopping, supermarket team characters, solar panels, Odd Bunch produce and Free Fruit for Kids bowls.

Sally Copland, Countdown’s director of brand & CountdownX, says sustainability was a non-negotiable in developing this latest collectable range, and part of that commitment was developing something that will be enjoyed for a long time.

“We know our customers love collectables and we’ve worked hard to create something shareable and fun, that will spark the imagination of little and big kids alike time and time again,” Copland says.

Leading clinical psychologist, Dr Dougal Sutherland from Victoria University, notes that play is crucial for children to learn, grow and develop – especially after long lockdown periods.

“Play often involves interacting with other children, finding meaning by connecting a new activity to something a child already knows, experimenting with new things, and doing things over and over again – Covid lockdowns have clearly reduced children’s opportunities to play.

“While at its heart play is about being joyful and having fun, for children it’s much more than this. When playing, they learn how to connect with others, how to solve problems, to express emotions, to think and to safely practice doing new things before they try them in real life,” he says.

Certified by Environmental Choice New Zealand (ECNZ), Countdown Bricks are recycled from items that would have otherwise ended up in landfills. The plastic from just one used fridge is able to transform into 600 bricks, more than 150,000 sets of old swimming goggles have transformed into windows and doors, and 16,800 plastic handles have been cleverly transformed into the tyres of the mini electric delivery trucks.

Francesca Lipscombe, general manager at the New Zealand Ecolabelling Trust, says Countdown went to great lengths to ensure Countdown Bricks met its standards, from the production process right through to the finished product.

“Through achieving the strict criteria for the Environmental Choice New Zealand eco-label for its Bricks, Countdown has proved its genuine desire to be transparent about doing the right thing. They have gone above and beyond to open up their supply chain for auditing and ensure they are doing all they can to reduce environmental harm,” says Lipscombe.

From 5 November, customers will receive one pack for every whole $30 they spend in-store or online. There are 40 unique Brick Packs to collect until 19 December or while stocks last. For those keen to expand their play, extras including Starter Kits, electric vehicles, playmats and additional figurines are also available to buy.

“For those customers who don’t want to collect, we’ll also have specially marked boxes in-store where you can donate unwanted Bricks to Oranga Tamariki for kids in care, so they can be loved by someone else,” says Sally.

Key features of Countdown Bricks include:

  • Countdown bricks are made from at least 80 per cent recycled materials
  • The bricks are compatible with other brands so you can have fun no matter how many you collect. Countdown bricks are made specifically for Countdown by UNGA
  • Transparent Countdown bricks are made from recycled swimming gogg;es amd have saved over 150,000 goggles from going to landfill
  • One refrigerator can yield enough recycled plastic to make up to 600 Countdown bricks
  • The tyres on Countdown bricks vehicles are made from recycled luggage handles and around 16,800 have been used
  • The recycled plastic from one refrigerator makes two complete Countdown bricks stores
  • An interactive ‘Bricks Experience’ app with Countdown bricks – related games and tasks is available for free in the Countdown app during the collectiables compaign

Countdown bricks will be available in-store and online from 5 November, more information can be found online.

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