Network of free water refill points to fight plastic waste

  A new national drinking water scheme aims to encourage more people to refill their bottles for free in a bid to tackle single-use plastic waste. High street retailers, coffee […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha
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A new national drinking water scheme aims to encourage more people to refill their bottles for free in a bid to tackle single-use plastic waste.

High street retailers, coffee shops, businesses and local authorities must offer free refill points to the public in every major city and town in England by 2021.

Industry body Water UK said people will be able to use an app on their phone to find out the nearest refill point or look for signs in shop windows.

Whitbread has become the first business to join the initiative, pledging to offer free water in each of its 3,000 Costa Coffee and Premier Inn locations from March 2018.

Only half of the 38.5 million plastic bottles used in the UK every day are recycled, with aorund 16 million ending up in landfill, being burnt or entering waterways.

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.”

The new scheme has been set up following the success of a previous Refill campaign, which currently has more than 1,600 refill stations in 13 towns and cities across the UK.

Water firms already taking part in local schemes include Anglian Water in Norwich, Bristol Water in Bristol, Northumbrian Water in Durham and South West Water in Cornwall.

Plans to install a network of water fountains across London this year were also recently announced.