What Kiwi supermarket shoppers should do with excess plastic packaging

Just weeks following the official plastic bag ban in supermarkets, shoppers are more aware of the plastic they're buying than ever before.

One Wellington man has even started a wider discussion around the excess use of plastic packaging.

Four-year-old Helaina Adams-Wood and her dad Tom love to buy muffins from their local supermarket bakery, but were recently shocked to find their favourite snack covered in plastic.

"We spotted all the muffins individually packaged in hard plastics and all the bread in soft plastics," says Mr Adams. "We weren't really prepared to end up with all that plastic and also endorse that kind of behaviour, so we went elsewhere."

"It's not a great idea," says Helaina.

Mr Adams posted about his discovery on Twitter, and hundreds echoed his disappointment.

One person suggested starting a movement to remove unnecessary plastic packaging and leave it behind on the shelves.

Foodstuffs says only one of their Wellington supermarkets was using individual plastic containers temporarily to prevent fruit flies from contaminating their food.

Newshub checked a dozen other supermarkets around the country, and none were using plastic for baked goods inside their glass cabinets.

So the question was put to Consumer New Zealand - what should shoppers do with excess plastic?

"You can ask them to take it off and say you don't want it," says chief executive Sue Chetwin.

"If customers continue to do that, then those shops will take notice of that because that's not what their customers want."

Mr Adams is calling on businesses to start making changes.

"Every business should think 'what is the whole life of my product going to be like?'. How am I making it, who is going to use it, how easy is it going to be to dispose of?"

Ms Chetwin agrees.

"I think New Zealand is a little bit behind what other countries are doing and we really need to get up to speed, I think some high level discussion around that would be quite valuable."

Until then, it looks like Helaina is learning first-hand from her dad about what it means to be a conscious consumer.