Keep Queensland Beautiful CEO David Curtin called on Telstra to remove the ‘New Phone Feeling’ advertisement.
According to Mr Curtin, the advertisement encourages littering and irresponsible disposable of phone packaging.
The advertisement features a consumer unpacking his new phone and tossing the packaging on the beach, allowing a crab to drag the box away and replace its shell for Telstra phone packaging.
The organisation launched a petition asking for support to change littering behaviour through positive messages and anti-litter initiatives.
Keep Queensland Beautiful CEO David Curtin said the advertisement is still active across a number of media platforms.
“We don’t understand why Telstra would promote something that is going to have so much damage to the marine life,” he said.
In the eyes of Keep Australia Beautiful network, there’s no need to include littering in any form of media…The crabs are cute, but we don’t want people to think that littering is acceptable.”
Telstra responded on social media to the complaints and said ‘the ad is a humorous take on recycling and we are absolutely committed to reducing our environmental impact.’
Telstra said their aim was to encourage customers who were purchasing a new phone to return their old phones in good condition so the devices could be refurbished, reused or recycled.
Mr Curtin said Telstra should educate the wider community to ‘do the right thing’ as recycling is very different to up-cycling.
“We don’t see why Telstra needs to include the disposal of the packaging in the way that they did. They could have easily put it in a bin which would have promoted recycling,” he said.
If they knew how many marine animals die every year from the litter out in the ocean, they wouldn’t be promoting at all.”
According to the latest National Litter Index results released by the Keep Australia Beautiful, Queensland is the worst littered state of Australia.
Mr Curtin said it becomes difficult when companies launch advertising that promotes poor environmental behaviour, whilst their organisation is waging a battle against litter in Queensland.
“In Queensland, litter has increased to 5.6% this year and 700,000,000 cigarette butts goes to the ocean every year,” he said.
“Imagine how many plastic bags, plastic packaging and other discarded items end up in the waterways and into the ocean.
“Advertisements like the ‘New Phone Feeling’ are encouraging irresponsible disposal of packaging, [which could] lead to a littered landscape.”
Mr Curtin said their programs and initiatives aim to stop Queensland from becoming like the ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”
“The adopted spot program allows people to adopt their local neighbourhood, street, park or even a beach and to keep it clean. They can become credited to one of our program and earn a one to five star,” he said.
Hundreds of supporters have already signed the petition and Mr Curtin said they are still expecting more signatures.
To sign the petition, please visit http://www.bit.ly/1sKuVOI.