Businesses tap in to help the environment

Posted on: 15 December 2017

Community minded businesses, such as cafes and shops, are being encouraged to join a growing movement to help the environment.

The concept is simple. Reduce the number of plastic bottles being thrown away by inviting people to re-fill their water bottles with tap water for free.

It’s a win-win; good for the environment; good for people’s health, to hydrate with water rather than sugary drinks; and good PR for the businesses and charities that open their doors to thirsty passers-by.

What began as a local campaign in Bude, Refill now has attracted national appeal with a diverse range of businesses across UK towns and cities volunteering as Refill Stations.

Refill Devon, the county’s campaign, began last year, and participants are steadily growing in number. From cafes and restaurants to phone shops, garden centres and estate agents, the diversity of businesses taking part is broad as more outlets ‘tap’ in.

All the businesses need to do is display a round, blue Refill sticker in their front window, and allow thirsty folk in to refill their plastic bottle. Simple. There’s an app to support the campaign, to inform people of the location of participating businesses.

It’s estimated that in the UK 800 plastic bottles per minute end up being disposed of as litter, and all too often make their way into our waterways and out to sea.

Devon County Council, South West Water and Beach Care, which is part of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, are promoting and funding Refill Devon.

The Council recently gave its commitment to support initiatives that aim to reduce use of single-use plastic bottles because of their damaging impact on the environment, specifically coastlines.

Cllr Andrea DavisCouncillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for recycling, said:

“It’s a great campaign. We’ve been supporting Refill Devon for some time and I’m delighted by how welcomed it’s been greeted by Devon businesses. So far we’ve got around 140 Refill Stations, but we’re keen to see more, especially in areas where there are gaps.

“There are clear benefits for everyone, for the participating businesses as well as the public. And because it’s free and so simple for participants to opt in, or opt out if it turns out not to be their thing, we’re saying to businesses, just give it a go.”

Croyde’s Billy Budd pub and restaurant was one of the first Refill Stations in Devon. Their Manager, Sam Marley, says:

“We are currently working with Surfers against Sewage and other businesses in the area in an attempt to make North Devon’s coastline plastic free. People are becoming more aware of the long term effects of plastics on the environment and the Refill Devon campaign is a great way of getting the public to reuse their water bottles. The Refill stickers get noticed frequently and it’s great to be a part of the campaign.”

Ian Jarman, the owner of Number 11 Café in Uffculme, said:

“This initiative is a win win. Refill supports the community, helps the environment and brings potential customers into the business at minimal cost.”

To find out more about Refill Devon visit the Recycle Devon website. Here you will find details of how to download the app, how to become a Refill Station and how you can register your interest to become a Refill Devon volunteer.

13 comments on “Businesses tap in to help the environment

  1. Dave says:

    Such a great idea. Good for the environment and good for health. Let’s keep seeing more of the blue stickers 🙂

  2. Vanessa Ryley says:

    Hi, I think this is a great scheme. I would like to get all cafes in Dawlish involved so would appreciate information on how to begin the process and acquire the promotional materials.

  3. Robert Weston says:

    How do we apply for a sticker?

    This is a great initiative – I’d love to get all relevant businesses to sign up for this scheme.

  4. Judith Chambers says:

    What a brilliant initiative.

    • Hi Judith. Yes it really is. Also because it is that easy. If you know any like-minded businesses in your area, perhaps nudge them in this direction, and hopefully they’ll join in. The more places that offer it, the better, and there’s no obligation. If they decide after a bit that it’s not for them, that’s absolutely fine too, and thanks for trying in the first place.

  5. Richard Jennings says:

    I’ve been badgering on about this for years – thank Goodness it’s being taken seriously at last.

    Top marks to DCC for coordinating things and producing stickers etc.

    A small but important step in the task of stopping treating plastics as a throwaway resource.

    • Moya says:

      What an excellent idea Well done Devon We are already very impressed with the new recycling bags and your information network and rate your team really highly.
      Any chance we can work on Supermarkets to Go Paper Bags instead of the little flimsy plastic jobs they offer for fruit and veg? They very easily get left in shopping trolleys and blow away.
      And could Spotlight Southwest do a Dont Let Devon Go to Waste Hero spot- like their sporting hero thing but getting people who are doing something special for the environment like the lady who is against plastic straws.
      Sorry—just a thought

    • Thanks Moya. Great ideas. I’ll pass them on.

  6. Ruth Sires says:

    Great progress.

  7. Brian O'Leary says:

    What an excellent idea!

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