News in Brief | World Refill Day: Petition calls for more free public water fountains


reusable water bottle

MPs, peers and members of the public are calling on councils to introduce networks of water fountains across the UK, in a public petition.

Running the campaign with cross-party political support is social impact company Ocean Bottle. Ocean Bottle has started a campaign across social media appealing to reusable bottle users to sign the petition.

The petition reads: “With the help of central government funding, local councils must install a comprehensive network of refill spots across the UK.”

It also follows an open letter – signed by leading political figures in all three main UK parties – supporting the campaign in The Times last month.

Regular access to water is essential in protecting people from dehydration, overheating and heat exhaustion.

Today’s launch marks an expansion of the campaign beyond London by calling on councillors across England to listen to public calls for more water fountains as temperatures rise for summer.

Ocean Bottle co-founder Will Pearson commented: “The hottest day of 2022 saw 638 more deaths than normal in England. This is only set to increase amid rising global temperatures.

“Regular access to water is essential in protecting people from dehydration, overheating and heat exhaustion, all of which put pressure on the NHS and can be fatal.

“Yet currently there are not nearly enough water fountains around to help keep people hydrated in the summer months, leading to enormous public health risks.”

Jo Royle, Founder and CEO of charity Common Seas, said: “We welcome calls for the Government to increase funding for more water fountains across the UK. This is a vital step in reducing plastic waste, as plastic bottles make up nearly a third of all plastic packaging in the UK despite so many owning reusable water bottles.

“A truly circular economy cannot be delivered without the correct infrastructure. If we are to make refilling the norm, free water must be conveniently available for all.”

Londoners encouraged to refill their reusable bottles

Water fountain

To mark World Refill Day, Londoners are being encouraged to carry a reusable water bottle and to “find their refill” when they are out and about in the hot weather to help them stay hydrated and cut down on single-use plastic.

The call comes from the Greater London Authority (GLA) and environmental group City to Sea to help tackle plastic pollution during the hot weather as single-use water bottle sales continue to grow. City to Sea’s award-winning Refill App maps over 5,000 places where Londoners can refill their water bottle when they are out and about.

City to Sea says it is working closely with the Mayor of London and the GLA to make London a “Refill Destination” that promotes reusable packaging in an effort to tackle plastic pollution across the city.

There are already 138 drinking water fountains introduced to the streets of London. The Refill app also maps major high street chains such as Costa Coffee, Morrisons, and McDonalds who are happy to give customers free drinking water.

Research carried out by City to Sea found that 71% of Londoner’s purchase at least one single-use plastic bottle a week. 14% of Londoners report buying at least 1 single-use plastic water bottle every day. However, 63% of Londoners would stop buying bottled water if there was guaranteed access to free tap water and opportunities to fill up a reusable water bottle.

I’ll continue to support City to Sea to grow the refill network and make London a ‘refill destination’.

City to Sea says the Refill campaign, supported by the Mayor of London, has installed 5,000 refill stations across the capital where people can fill up their reusable bottle for free with tap water – this figure has grown by nearly 1,000 in the last year.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, commented: “Delivering more water fountains and offering free tap water in our shops and cafes is an important part of our work to help Londoners make small changes that have a big environmental impact.

“I’ll continue to support City to Sea to grow the refill network and make London a ‘refill destination’ –  encouraging all Londoners to carry a reusable water bottle and use the Refill App to find somewhere to fill it up.

“I’m delighted that there are now nearly 140 fountains and more than 5,000 cafes, restaurants, pubs, and retailers across the city where Londoners can top up their water bottles, helping Londoners to stay hydrated amid rising temperatures and tackling plastic pollution. It’s an important part of building a better London for everyone.”


City-wide reusable coffee cup launches in Bristol 

Bristol based environmental group, City to Sea, are this Friday (16th June – World Refill Day) launching their new returnable and reusable Refill Return Cup. The highly anticipated Refill Return Cup is an innovative and eco-friendly initiative aimed to revolutionise the way Bristolians enjoy coffee while reducing single-use cup waste.

The Refill Return Cup is a reusable cup that can be picked up and dropped off at participating coffee shops across the whole city eliminating the need for single-use coffee cups.

Currently, more than 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups are used and thrown away each year in the UK. That’s an astonishing 10,000 every two minutes. City to Sea estimates that if the Bristol Refill Return Cup was used by just one in ten residents just once a week, then 46,000 single-use cups would be saved across the city every week – that’s a massive 2.5 million single-use coffee cups a year.

To mark the launch of the cup City to Sea and Clifton Coffee Roasters are giving away a free cup of coffee on the 16th at the Bristol-based Future Leap café.

City to Sea’s Head of Development, Jane Martin commented, “We can’t keep going as we are with park bins overflowing and our Harbourside littered with floating single-use coffee cups. We need to do things differently.

Offering accessible reusable cups will help reduce the consumption of single-use items, leading to less landfill waste and a smaller carbon footprint.

And after years of research we are really delighted to be launching our Refill Return Cup that completely eliminates the need to carry a reusable cup with you. Instead, you can pick one of our reusable cups up anywhere in the city and then drop it off at any participating coffee shop. These will all be mapped on the award-winning Refill app.”

Hannah Sturman, Director of Transformation & Stakeholder Relations at Bristol Waste added, “Driving down the use of single-use plastic materials is essential to reducing its impact on the environment and creating new reusable solutions for residents. Fewer littered coffee cups on our streets is a fantastic bonus for us at Bristol Waste, and we’re looking forward to seeing the effects of the scheme grow across the city.”

The new Refill Return Cup will allow residents to have their takeaway tea and coffee in a reusable cup which they can borrow from participating coffee shops for free and return to any participating outlet in the city. The Refill Return Cup is funded by the Bristol-based Ecosurety through their Ecosurety Exploration Fund.

Gareth Morton, Discovery Manager at Ecosurety commented: “Offering accessible reusable cups will help reduce the consumption of single-use items, leading to less landfill waste and a smaller carbon footprint. We hope this scheme will act as a pilot for similar schemes to work through the Refill app in future”.

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