Plastic bottle recycling initiative means more water refill points

The campaign to reduce plastic bottle recycling means more free water requests. Is it time to talk to a water procurement specialist from Blue Castle Group?

Industry body, Water UK is set to help the UK further improve our plastic bottle recycling and usage rates following an expansion to the number of free water refill points that will be available in the future.

Their aim is to have cafes, shops, pubs and other businesses offering free water fill ups in every large UK town and city by 2021.  in further efforts to reduce plastic bottle recycling.

Whitbread, which owns Costa Coffee and Premier Inn, is the first to sign up to the initiative and will provide water in all of its retail outlets from March 2018.

The downside for businesses is that instead of gaining revenue from both the sale of water in plastic bottles and from plastic bottle recycling rebates, they are going to see a rise in the amount of water their premises uses.

Currently, all licensed premises in England and Wales are required by law to provide "free potable water" to their customers upon request. In Scotland a similar law applies, but specifies "tap water fit for drinking".  A licensed premises means pubs, bars, nightclubs, cafes, restaurants, takeaway food and drink outlets, cinemas, theatres, and even village and community halls - as long as they are authorised to serve alcohol. However, whilst the water has to be free, a charge can be made  for the use of a glass - or their service.

Regardless of the above, many of the UK public does not realise they can request free water, and many are just simply too embarrassed to ask for it!

By increasing in the number of free water refill points it is hoped to raise awareness of the ability to request a free refill, and encourage the public to ask for refills of their own re-usable containers.

The success of the new scheme will hinge on the number of refill stations and by providing more water fountains in public places. The plan is to publish outlets on a downloadable app.

The new scheme has been set up on the back of a previous initiative, the Refill campaign, which currently has more than 1,600 refill stations across the UK and operates in 13 towns and cities in England. Water companies already taking part in local schemes under Refill include Anglian Water in Norwich, Northumbrian Water in Durham, South West Water in Cornwall and Bristol Water in Bristol.

Making it easier for people to refill water bottles instead of buying single-use ones is squarely on the agenda, with support from Environment Secretary Michael Gove and the Mayor of London.

Commenting, Blue Castle Commercial Director David Brighton said, "We welcome all initiatives that will help the UK adopt a more responsible attitude towards plastics bottle recycling and the reduction of waste plastic that is polluting our environment and oceans worldwide."

If you think your business might be affected by the reduction in plastic bottle recycling and an increase the demand for free water, now might be an ideal time to talk to a water procurement specialist from Blue Castle Group.

We use the power of bulk-purchasing to reduce the cost of your water charges. We take individual clients’ water usage and combine them together for an increased saving. In order to accurately calculate potential savings we will conduct a desktop analysis of your usage and spend to identify any potential issues with the current service allowing us to present to you accurate budgeting following a switch of supply.