REFILL is the eco-friendly message from council chiefs.
Stratford District Council is joining the fight against single use plastic waste by signing up to the Refill scheme which encourages people to refill water bottles for free.
It is estimated that around 7.7 billion plastic water bottles are bought across the UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste ending up in the seas around Britain, and littering towns, cities and the countryside.
City to Sea, a not-for-profit organisation, launched the award-winning Refill Campaign in 2015. There are now over 22,000 Refill stations around the UK and its app shows where water bottles can be refilled for free.
It is hoped the scheme will cut plastic bottle use by tens of millions each year, as well as substantially increasing the availability of high-quality drinking water.
Angela Lloyd, local champion and district council streetscene lead contracts officer, is launching Refill Stratford-on-Avon District. She told the Observer why both businesses and their customers should get involved.
“Here in Stratford we’re rightly proud of the area’s stunning landscapes and countryside. Plastics, including single-use plastic bottles, are now the most frequently found type of litter on UK beaches and you don’t have to look far to find them littering our towns and green spaces too.
“Refill Stratford-on-Avon District gives us all the opportunity to help make this type of litter a thing of the past at the same time as saving money. It’s good business sense as well, as customers view businesses that provide free water refills more favourably and are more likely to return to them to make future purchases.
“We are working with StratForward, who will be encouraging businesses in the town to sign up and we’ll be promoting the scheme to the wider district as well.”
Coun Ian Shenton, district operations spokesman, was pleased to see the launch.
“Every time we refill a re-useable bottle instead of buying and throwing away a single-use bottle we not only reduce the amount of plastic and fuel being used, we save a bit of money and help clean up our towns and open spaces too.
“We’re so excited to see the launch of Refill Stratford-on-Avon District so look out for the stickers or check the app to find out where you can refill for free. We have started by signing up our offices as a Refill station.”
Refill Stratford-on-Avon District builds on the success of Refill around the UK, which now boasts a network of over 22,000 Refill Stations.
Refill regional coordinator James Watt said: “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 Stratford-on-Avon District 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.”
Find out more about Refill Stratford-on-Avon District and how you can take part @RefillStratford.
Visit refill.org.uk to download the free Refill app and find out more about the Refill movement.