Refill Wirral is on a mission to make refilling your water bottle as easy, convenient and cheap as possible, by introducing Refill Stations on every street.
The Mayor of Wirral, Councillor Geoffrey Watt launched the exciting Refill scheme for Wirral at Birkenhead Park; the park is one of 32 places to have already signed up to Refill Wirral.
The scheme encourages participating shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, banks, galleries, museums, and other businesses to sign up to the free Refill app and put a sticker in their window alerting passers-by to the fact they’re welcome to fill up their bottle for free.
City to Sea, a not-for-profit organisation headed by campaigner Natalie Fee, launched the award-winning Refill Campaign in 2015. It’s estimated that the scheme, now being rolled out nationwide with support from Water UK and local water companies, will cut plastic bottle use by tens of millions each year, as well as substantially increasing the availability of high-quality drinking water.
Wirral Community Champion Emily Gleaves from Waste Not Want Not, has worked with the Council to launch Refill Wirral, she explains why both businesses and their customers should get involved.
“Here in Wirral we’re rightly proud of the area’s stunning coast and countryside, as a peninsula surrounded by water, we need to lead the way with projects like this and look after where we live. Plastics, including single-use plastic bottles, are now the most frequently found type of litter on UK beaches.
“There are already businesses signed up and leading the way, we will be out and about encouraging others to take part too. Ideally we would like every business on the Wirral that has the facilities (at working tap!) to be registered with the Refill app.
“It makes good business sense too, customers view businesses that provide free water refills more favourably and are more likely to return to them to make future purchases. I’ve already started to see this with my own business.”
Businesses can add themselves to the app by downloading the Refill app or visiting the Reiill website.
Cabinet Member for Environment Councillor Anita Leech commented: ‘I’m delighted the Council is working with Emily on this project. Last year we launched our single use plastic policy and a commitment to support Refill was one of our key priorities. Tackling plastic waste is a huge task, partnerships like this is where we can really start to make a difference and get everyone involved in reducing the amount of plastic we use and throw away.”
Refill Wirral builds on the success of Refill around the UK, which now boasts a network of over 16,000 Refill Stations.
Sarah Irving, Refill Regional Coordinator, added: “We know lots of businesses already offer this simple service, but find customers often feel embarrassed or cheeky for asking. By letting people know they can look for Refill stickers or posters and be confident they can refill for free where they find one, Refill Wirral is 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.”
Water UK Chief Executive Michael Roberts said: “As an industry with a strong focus on the environment we are passionate about tackling the problems caused by plastic bottles, which clog up rivers and drains, and pollute our seas. By refilling water bottles, we can all help turn this harmful tide of plastic waste. 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.”