In the wake of the ‘Latte Levy’ proposition hitting our news, there has now been a plan to reduce the number of plastic bottles that get wasted every year. The figures regarding plastic waste make for concerning reading, and industry body Water UK is proposing a new scheme to offer free water refill points in every major city and town in England by 2021. An article from BBC explains…
Facts and figures behind the water refill scheme.
They say it could cut disposable plastic bottle use by tens of millions every year. 1,000,000 bottles are purchased during this time, which equates to 20,000 a second! Less than 50% of these are collected for recycling and only 7% are turned into new bottles.
It’s time to act, and fast. Shops, cafes and businesses will offer the refill points, and all fountains can be found via an app or window signs that direct people to the nearest one.
Previous water refill campaigns.
It’s not necessarily a new approach. There was a similar, previous initiative that went by the name Refill, which currently operates in 13 towns and cities across the country.
Behind this are some of the local campaigns, which include Anglian Water in Norwich, South West Water in Cornwall and Bristol Water in Bristol. The latter became involved in the campaign back in 2015, and the city now has more than 200 points.
Making refills easier.
Water UK’s chief executive, Michael Roberts, said it’s important to tackle a ‘harmful’ problem.
“This country has some of the best drinking water in the world and we want everyone to benefit from it.
“This scheme will do that by making it easier for people to refill their bottles wherever they work, rest, shop or play.”
Proof in the pudding…
In light of the recent push to sustain our environment, it does make you wonder just how environmentally friendly we are as a Nation. Despite the fact we’re often regarded as a country that always recycles where possible, the reality is a sharp contrast.
The carrier bag levy first came into force around 18 months ago, and was arguably the first sign that things aren’t quite as rosy as they seem. This has been recently followed up by the aforementioned ‘Latte Levy’, which will impose a 25p charge for disposable coffee cups should it be approved by Government.
Such charges do have a history of success, however. It was only a few weeks back that Prime Minister Theresa May extended the 5p carrier bag charge to English corner shops and off licences, so it has been a method that’s worked well in reducing the number of carrier bags selfishly thrown away.
Arguably, it could be said that water refill points will work even better, simply because there are no costs involved to the user.
Analysis of the water refill scheme.
Drinking fountains have been around for generations, but there are no figures to say how many of them there actually are in the UK. Installing them is believed to be a local responsibility, but there’s no doubt there will be an even greater push if it becomes Government backed.
In reference to the Bristol Water campaign, it has been estimated that if every city resident in Bristol refilled one bottle per week, the city could cut the use of disposable bottles by 22.3 million a year.
It is a path that Water UK want to get the whole Nation on. Together, we could drastically reduce plastic waste.
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Source – BBC.