Refill East Northants' mission to end pointless plastic

It's World Refill Day today (June 16) and you can help by downloading the Refill app

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 12:01 am

Today is World Refill Day - and businesses in East Northants have been leading the charge to turn the tide of plastic pollution.

Using the Refill app people can track down cafes, pubs, retailers and zero waste shops where customers can refill their own mug and cut down on pointless plastic.

Thanks to the efforts of the Oundle Waste Less (OWL) team, who run the Refill East Northants project, there are now more than 20 refill stations listed locally.

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World Refill Day
World Refill Day

This includes everything from free drinking water refills, to discounts on hot drinks in reusable cups and zero-waste shops, along with greengrocers, bakeries and other plastic-free shopping options.

Camilla Sherwin, from the Oundle Waste Less project, said: "We’re rightly proud of East Northamptonshire’s stunning countryside, but we are alarmed at the amount of plastic waste we see on the roadsides, along footpaths, in the fields and in the river.

"Together, by getting into the habit of refilling and reusing bottles, cups and containers, we can turn off the tap when it comes to single-use plastic and make a big difference to the environment.”

As well as leading the refill revolution in the east of the county, OWL is asking people to use World Refill Day to think about their plastic use.

It's World Refill Day today

Beans Coffee Stop in Oundle is one such business that’s leading the fight against single use plastic by offering customers returnable cups in which to drink their hot or cold drinks.

A spokesman for Beans said: "At Beans, we know that more and more of our customers are demanding refillable and reusable options. To meet that demand, we have introduced returnable takeaway cups in which to serve hot and cold drinks – considerably reducing the number of drinks served in single use cups.

"People are waking up to the tide of single-use plastics and we as a business are doing what we can to tackle that and join campaigns such as this to raise awareness of not just the problem, but also the solutions”

A poll commissioned by City to Sea and Friends of the Earth for World Refill Day found that 81 per cent of Brits want the UK government to prioritise making refillable products more widely available, as a main priority for reducing plastic pollution - almost three quarters agree they would like to see more refill options available.

A refill shop

Jo Morley, City to Sea’s head of campaigns and project lead for Refill said: “At City to Sea, we're on a mission to make living with less plastic easier and we want to see a world where everyone can choose to reuse wherever they shop, eat and drink. This World Refill Day we are so grateful to businesses around the globe who are stepping up and helping their customers to avoid single-use plastic. We’d like to see the Government and big brands do the same.”

“These latest figures support what organisations like City to Sea and Friends of the Earth have been long saying; we need nothing short of a refill revolution. This is about putting action behind the words that have long promised to implement the waste hierarchy that clearly puts recycling as a last resort after all efforts to reduce, reuse and refill have been exhausted.”

Friends of the Earth plastics campaigner, Camilla Zerr, said: "The results are in and couldn’t be clearer, public support for a world where plastic pollution isn’t choking our oceans, landscapes and wildlife is resounding.

“But so far, Government promises on plastic have been all bluff and bluster, with little guarantee of a real reduction in plastic pollution. When solutions like reuse and refill exist but aren’t coming quick enough, we must demand more of our political leaders.

World Refill Day is being supported by businesses across east Northamptonshire

“Although our attention has been diverted during the course of the pandemic, plastic pollution hasn’t gone away - but there’s still time to double down and make it a priority as we build back better. Fortunately, there’s an opportunity to craft a new, ambitious vision for plastic pollution enshrined in law, through the Environment Bill. The government should utilise this to really listen to what the public wants, by putting reuse and refill at its very heart.”

Packaging from takeaway food and drinks is a major threat in the fight against plastic pollution and items like coffee cups and takeaway containers are consistently in the top ten items found on beaches around the world.

Camilla Sherwin added: "City to Sea and the team at Refill East Northants are now calling on local residents to do their bit to tackle plastic pollution by finding out what they can refill and reuse locally, supporting local businesses at the same time.

"Get involved this World Refill Day on June 16. Just download the free Refill app and use it to find nearby places to refill water, coffee, lunch, groceries, toiletries and more.

"Remember to carry your reusables and take them in to refill."