Volunteers from Transition Town Totnes have been signing up businesses for a new scheme to offer passers-by the chance to refill reusable water bottles with tap water for free, as part of a wider initiative. Refill Devon builds on the success of Refill around the UK, which now boasts over ten schemes with a network of more than 1,000 Refill Stations. Participating cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels and other public venues and businesses display a round, blue sticker in their window and can be located via the Refill app, inviting passers-by to “Refill Here.” Mangetout, Earth.Food.Love, the Waterside and Totnes Leisure Centre had already signed themselves up; the volunteers were able to welcome on board Drift, The Wild Fig, Delphini’s, The Terrace Café, Rumour, Anne of Cleves, the Seven Stars and the Bay Horse as well as listing the public water fountain in the Mansion Square.
In the UK, 35.8 million plastic bottles are used every day with only around half of those being collected for recycling, a needless waste of raw materials and energy. To make matters worse, millions of tonnes of plastic accumulate in our oceans every year causing pollution and environmental damage, whilst slowly breaking down and entering the food chain. Marine wildlife often mistake small pieces of plastic for food and, according to research by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish.
The initiative aims to stem the tide of single-use plastic bottles and promote healthy hydration by making refilling your water bottle as easy, convenient and cheap as possible, with the aim of refill points on every high street, and is supported by Recycle Devon. Lots of businesses already offer this simple service but research shows that people often feel embarrassed to ask. By letting people know they can look out for the Refill sticker or search on the Refill app, we’re encouraging more people to take one small step away from relying on single-use plastic bottles. It’s a really simple concept with a really big potential result.
From now on, as you leave the house in the morning, remember your reusable bottle along with keys, wallet etc. You need never go thirsty again! Check out the website if you would like to sign up your business or find out where you can refill.