The fourth round of Global Plastics Treaty negotiations (INC-4) is happening in Ottawa from 23-29 April 2024. LEARN MORE
, , - Posted on October 25, 2019

Refill and Reuse: Messages from City to Sea, UK

Around the world, one million plastic bottles are bought and sold every minute. That’s a vast amount of single-use plastic being created and thrown away, and much of it ends up littering our beaches and choking our rivers and oceans.

Break Free From Plastic
A woman holding a phone showing the refill app by City to Sea, UK

We didn’t think it needed to be this way and in 2015, environmental campaigner Natalie Fee launched the non-profit, City to Sea. Our mission is to prevent marine plastic pollution by tackling some of the most polluting single-use items and providing practical solutions to help people switch from single-use to reusables.

Refill is our award-winning campaign to eradicate plastic pollution caused by bottled water by making it easy, free, and simple to reuse and refill your water bottle on the go. The campaign works by connecting people who are looking for water with thousands of local shops, cafés, transport hubs, and public spaces where they can refill for free via a location-based app.

Through our network of almost 400 community schemes across the UK, we’ve established over 25,000 refill stations – all of which are easy to find through our location-based app, Refill. We want to make it the norm for people to carry a bottle with them in the knowledge that they can easily find free tap water at any time.

With buy-in from the water industry at a national level and support from retailers and high-street chains, as well as influencers and celebrity endorsements, it’s clear we’ve tapped into something that people care about.

And we’ve seen great success. We now have more than 250,000 app users and by the end of 2019, we’ll have stopped over 100 million plastic bottles entering the waste stream in the UK alone! Wahooooo!

Of course, water bottles are just one part of the plastic problem, and we want to find new ways to solve it! In the next few months, we’re expanding the Refill campaign to cover more than just drinking water to include other refillable products – helping to provide a one-stop-shop for avoiding single-use plastic and encouraging consumers to refill coffee cups, lunchboxes, and groceries, as well as cleaning products and toiletries.

Many high-street coffee chains already let you bring in a reusable cup for hot drinks and some supermarkets are bowing to consumer pressure by allowing people to bring their own containers to the meat, fish and deli counters.

As public awareness grows, brands and businesses like these are getting more engaged in offering solutions. It’s our aim to bring these things together, putting all the information in one place so we can all find out through the app where to go to save time, money, and the oceans!

Not only that, we’re going global as well, with Refill schemes already established in Japan, Chile, Portugal, Australia, and plans to roll out across Europe in 2020. In June 2020, we’ll be building on the success of National Refill Day which we’ve run for the last 2 years in the UK and will be working with our Refill schemes, partners and communities around the world to launch International Refill day. The Refill Revolution is going global!

For City to Sea, Refill is the simple, common sense solution that makes you feel good about doing your bit. We don’t want to make people feel bad about their choices, we want to inspire them to make more conscious, positive ones which we can demonstrate make a real, tangible difference to our planet.

Download the FREE app and find out how to get involved with the campaign here.


© 2024 Break Free From Plastic. All right reserved.