Falling back in love with tap water and preventing plastic pollution – one bottle at a time
What is Refill?
Refill is a national campaign to make it so easy and acceptable to refill your water bottle on the go that it becomes all but pointless to buy water in throwaway plastic bottles, helping people both stay hydrated and reduce plastic pollution.
Refill is making this happen by encouraging cafes, bars, shops, hotels and public buildings to display a sticker in their window and list themselves on the Refill Smartphone App if they are happy for passers-by to pop in and ask for their water bottle to be refilled with tap water for free, whether or not they make a purchase.
We are proud that Reading Sustainability Centre has been appointed local champion for Refill in Reading, and excited about the possibility of Reading becoming a Refill Town. Over the next few months we want to sign up as many of the town’s cafes, pubs, shops and visitor attractions as possible as Refill stations. If you’d like to get involved, or would like to know more about becoming a Refill station, drop us a line using our contact form.
Why is Refill important?
In 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tons of plastic; in 2016, a global population of more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic. This is set to double by 2034. Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans.
In the UK, the average household uses 480 plastic bottles a year, but only recycles 270 of them. The remainder either ends up in general waste or becomes the sort of litter that finds its way in to our waterways and seas. Over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches. One way to address this tide of plastic pollution is to get better at recycling. Another is to reduce the number of plastic bottles we use in the first place.
How big is Refill?
There are currently about 29 cafes, shops, hotels and bars in the Reading area that display the Refill water drop logo or are listed on the Refill Smartphone App (or both). We’d like to see many more places doing the same, so that wherever you are in Reading you are never far from a Refill station.
Nationally there are about 12,000 Refill stations, with more being added every day. Refill started in the seaside town of Bude as a practical response to plastic waste on the beach, was developed to its current form and profile in Bristol and has now become a national movement with the backing of the water companies. But it still works best where it also has a local champion.
We are not starting from scratch. Reading is fortunate in already having a well-established initiative to encourage people to carry a reusable coffee cup, Refill Reading. We are working closely with Transition Town Reading and the team behind Refill Reading to make the most of our connections, to encourage people in Reading not only to carry a reusable coffee cup but also to ditch the habit of buying water in throw away bottles.
Of course refilling on the go is not a new idea. Towns and parks across the country used to be peppered with public water fountains. But over time these fell out of fashion and in to disrepair. Alongside the national Refill scheme there are also local campaigns to reintroduce water fountains to public spaces. National Rail has announced its intention to install water fountains in its mainline stations, including Reading Station. Reading Borough Council is on record as saying that it wants to find a way to reintroduce water fountains to Town Square and key parks.
Be part of Reading’s #RefillRevolution!
If you think this all sounds exciting and you would like to get involved in signing up new Refill stations in Reading, or you work somewhere that would like to become a Refill station, please drop Paul Ducker a line using the contact form.
Of course, you can become a champion immediately just by downloading the Refill App, or looking for the Refill window sticker, to find places to refill your water bottle (https://refill.org.uk). Then, once you’ve got the habit, take a friend along so that they can see how easy it is to do!
Who is behind Refill?
Refill is a national campaign to make refilling a reusable water bottle on the go as easy and convenient as possible. It was created and is managed by City to Sea, a Community Interest Company based in Bristol. The national development of Refill is being supported by the water companies. Reading Sustainability Centre is the local champion for Refill in Reading, working closely with Transition Town Reading and the existing Refill Reading reusable cup campaign. Together we are creating connections and building a local team of dedicated volunteers who can support the spread of Refill in Reading.
Refill project updates
Posts on plastic pollution
- Breaking free of single use plastic in Reading – What is going on? 16/05/2018
- No need to #refusethestraw in Hong Kong: Drinks come with a metal straw as standard 25/03/2018
- Don’t blame plastics! 25/02/2018
- Trying to live with less plastic? Try shampoo in a bar! 12/12/2017
- High-street outlets move to ditch plastic amid environmental concerns 07/11/2017