Refill initiative helps to reduce plastic waste in the National Park

Did you know….that if just 1 in 10 Brits refilled their water bottle once per week, rather than buying a single use bottle, it would save around 340 million plastic bottles a year?

One of the objectives of Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, is to support green initiatives within the National Park and we were interested to hear about ‘Refill’, a national campaign led by the City to Sea charity, with the aim of reducing plastic pollution. Refill Loch Lomond and The Trossachs kicked off last summer and 20 businesses are already signed up and offering refills.  We know only too well the amount of plastic bottles that end up in, or strewn around, the lochs, from the sack loads that we collect during our litter-picking events.  

Alison Limbert, Director of Love Lochs and Landscapes explains more about the scheme and the environmental benefits it delivers.   

Refill connects people with a reusable water bottle to access tap water while out and about rather than buying a single use plastic water bottle.  The campaign provides an app which lists places (Refill Stations) where drinking water is provided by local businesses or by public water fountains.  Many businesses may already be offering to fill up water bottles, however the app and the Refill branded window stickers provide a recognisable commitment from a business that they are willing to do so.

67% of people would be more likely to use a reusable water bottle if they knew that a business would willingly fill it up.  In October 2020, the national Refill campaign was extended beyond water bottle refills to also include listing businesses where you can buy a takeaway hot drink in a reusable cup.

Refill Loch Lomond and Trossachs began in summer 2020 and has 20 businesses signed up so far to be Refill Stations.  As well as reducing the environmental impact in the area from producing, shipping and disposing of single use plastic bottles and coffee cups it also reduces the number of items that can be littered. 

It has been great to have many businesses sign up and offer refills during the pandemic. It has been a difficult time and there’s been a lot of confusion and concern around hygiene and reusables.  As reported on City to Sea website:

*Over 120 health scientists have stated reusables are safe as long as basic hygiene is followed i.e. wash your hands

Some statistics on why it is important to find alternatives to single use plastic bottles and coffee cups:

  • If just 1 in 10 Brits Refilled once per week, it would save around 340m plastic bottles a year (City to Sea)
  • Plastic bottles are the biggest source of plastic pollutants in rivers (Earthwatch and Plastic Oceans UK)
  • Over 200m single use drinks cups are estimated to be used in Scotland each year. This is expected to increase to 310m by 2025 less than 1% are recycled. At least 40,000 are littered (source Zero Waste Scotland). “