Free water refill stations to 'cut plastic bottle use by tens of millions'

Drinking from a water bottle

A major scheme to introduce free water bottle refill stations across England has been announced today, with the aim of reducing plastic bottle waste 'by tens of millions each year'.

Three thousand branches of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn will provide water refill stations from March 2018, following owner Whitbread's pledge to sign up to the scheme, with a national network of high street retailers, coffee shops, businesses and local authorities' planned by 2021.

You'll be able to find a refill station via an app and signs in business's windows.

In addition, Water UK – the organisation behind the plan, called Refill – says new drinking fountains may be installed in public places or historical ones brought back into use.

Water UK refill stations 2

"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," explains Michael Roberts, Water UK Chief Executive.

"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."

There's already a Refill scheme in 13 towns and cities in England including Bristol, where more than 200 refill points have been introduced since 2015.

Water UK says the first step for the new initiative is for water companies to develop local action plans by this September.

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