A Levin man is urging consumers to shop with their conscience and return packaging to stores in an effort to reduce a "rubbish plague".

Mark Nehoff, 62, bought a new shower for his home that he was installing himself, but was dismayed at the amount of packaging that went with the item.

When he had finished the job he was left with a huge pile of plastic and polystyrene, symptomatic of what he said must be a real issue for the building industry, too.

"I was absolutely shocked at the amount of packaging. I couldn't believe it," he said.

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"You imagine how many showers are being put in around the country each day."

"The shower will probably be in use for 40 years but the stuff it was wrapped in will probably be here for 300 years."

He was considering returning all the packaging to the store where he bought the shower.

"People should shop with their conscience," he said.

He said the phasing out of single-use plastic bags was a step in the right direction, but only a small step in war against trash.

Levin man Mark Nehoff.
Levin man Mark Nehoff.

"I remember when I saw my first plastic bag. I was 13 and the neighbour washed it and hung it on the clothesline so she could reuse it," he said.

Polystyrene was estimated by some scientists to take thousands of years to break down in the environment once discarded.