The problem with plastic.  

Tackling plastic pollution with a Refill solution! 

Pollution from plastics is currently recognised by the public and policy-makers as one of the most pressing and challenging environmental issues to address in the UK.

Did you know?

In the UK we have some of the highest quality drinking water in the world – and it’s from our taps! Did you know that In the UK alone, we consume 13 billion plastic bottles a year – 7.7 billion of them are plastic water bottles [1]?

And around the world, one million plastic bottles are bought every minute, with this figure expected to increase by 20% by 2021[2].

To make matters worse

In the UK, nearly half of the bottles we use are NOT recycled, with more than 15 million littered, landfilled or incinerated every day [3], producing 233,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year [4]. Plastic bottles comprise one third of all plastic pollution in the sea [5] and there are now over 159 plastic bottles for every mile of beach in the UK [6]. 

The impact on our wildlife is becoming catastrophic – 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by plastic pollution every year! [7]

Microplastic… Not so fantastic.

Despite this impact on our environment, many people still drink bottled water, because they believe it not only tastes better but is better and safer than tap water. In reality, tap water is often more tightly regulated [8], not to mention the fact that a recent global study of bottled water brands found tiny plastic particles (microplastics) in over 90 per cent of samples [9]. 

These microplastics are found throughout our oceans and are a result of natural water erosion and sunlight breaking down the plastic into tiny particles. A single plastic microbead can be one million times more toxic than the water around it [10]. 

Food for thought.

Microbeads are entering the food chain after being consumed by small fish and plankton. 

Shockingly, the average seafood consumer in the UK will ingest around 11,000 plastic particles every year [11]. Not only is plastic affecting our food chain, but seabirds and mammals around the world are also being impacted by plastic at an unprecedented pace.

Ingested plastic has turned up in almost 92% of animal-meets-marine debris reports [12].  Microplastics affect their metabolism and reproduction system and ultimately contribute to the potential for species extinction

But, how can we reduce this?

Introducing Refill  a free tap water initiative designed to reduce plastic pollution by making refilling your water bottle easy, attractive and rewarding!  

If all our Refill Stations are used just once a week we’d save more than 5 million bottles a year.  

Our aims are to have free Refill Stations on every high street, in every city and to make carrying a refillable bottle a social norm.

 

How it works. 

Participating cafes, bars, restaurants, banks, galleries, museums and other businesses simply register to be a Refill Station via the app, pinpointing their location for users to find.

They’ll also have sticker in their window – alerting passers-by to the fact they’re welcome to come on in and fill up their bottle – for free! 

Join the Refill Revolution.

Carry a reusable bottle, download the Refill app to find your fill on the go and help us tackle plastic pollution at source!

UPDATE

References:

  1. RECOUP (RECycling of Used Plastics Limited) cited in: House of Commons, ‘Plastic bottles: Turning Back the Plastic Tide’ – Source:  https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/339/33905.htm
  2. RECOUP (RECycling of Used Plastics Limited) cited in: House of Commons, ‘Plastic bottles: Turning Back the Plastic Tide’ – Source:  https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/339/33905.htm
  3. Grand View Research, Inc https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-bottled-water-market
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/28/bottled-water-is-a-nonsense-fill-our-towns-with-drinking-fountains
  5. The Green Alliance (PKG0026B) cited in: House of Commons, ‘Plastic bottles: Turning Back the Plastic Tide’ – Source: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/339/33905.htm
  6. The latest Beachwatch survey (2016, MCSUK)
  7. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/ioc-oceans/focus-areas/rio-20-ocean/blueprint-for-the-future-we-want/marine-pollution/facts-and-figures-on-marine-pollution/
  8. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9775158/Bottled-water-not-as-safe-as-tap-variety.html
  9. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/14_03_13_finalbottled.pdf
  10. Keep Britain Tidy (PKG0084A) cited in: House of Commons, ‘Plastic bottles: Turning Back the Plastic Tide’ Source: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/339/33905.htm
  11. House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee Plastic bottles: Turning Back the Plastic Tide First Report of Session 2017–19
  12. The latest Beachwatch survey (2016, MCSUK)

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