An ‘exciting’ scheme to cut plastic bottle use has launched in Mid Sussex.
The scheme – Refill Mid Sussex – is being delivered by a team of volunteers in partnership with Mid Sussex District Council.
A spokesman for the district council said: “An exciting Refill scheme has launched in Mid Sussex.
“It encourages participating cafes, bars, restaurants, banks, galleries, museums and other businesses to sign up to the free Refill app and put a sticker in their window alerting passers-by to the fact they’re welcome to fill up their bottle for free.
“Refill Mid Sussex is on a mission to make refilling water bottles as easy, convenient and cheap as possible, by introducing Refill stations on every street.
“It’s a nationwide campaign, with similar schemes running in many different parts of the country.
“The council is now encouraging new volunteers to join the movement, talk to local businesses about Refill and help them become part of the campaign by putting a sticker in their window.”
The average adult buys more than three plastic water bottles every week – a startling 175 bottles every year per person, the council said.
In total, some 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought across the UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste ending up in the ocean.
City to Sea, a not-for-profit organisation headed by entrepreneur Natalie Fee, launched the award-winning Refill scheme in 2015.
It’s estimated that the scheme, now being rolled out nationwide with support from Water UK and water companies, will cut plastic bottle use by tens of millions each year, as well as substantially increasing the availability of high quality drinking water.
Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, cabinet member for resources and economic growth, said: “Here in Mid Sussex we’re rightly proud of our 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 Mid Sussex 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.
“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 Mid Sussex, which will make it easy to look out for the stickers or check the app to find out where you can refill for free.”
Water UK chief executive Michael Roberts added: “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.
“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.”
Find out more about Refill Mid Sussex and how to take part at www.facebook.com/Refillmidsussexdistrict.
Visit the Refill website at www.refill.org.uk to download the free Refill app and find out more about the Refill movement.
For more information visit www.midsussex.gov.uk/environment/sustainability.