We all know that we’re plagued with a throwaway culture and that we have a massive plastic problem. Of the 300 million tonnes of plastic we create each year, half is single-use – and we all know that every single piece of plastic produced is still around. Less than 10% of plastic we use has ever been recycled, because plastic is more expensive to recycle than to create new, and often is mixed with other materials (such as in clothes) that can’t be easily separated from each other.
World Refill Day is a global awareness campaign to prevent plastic pollution and help people live with less waste. Those facts and figures can be disheartening, but Refill is driving change all over the world. They have 30,000 refill stations all over the world, where you can fill up your water bottle for free with no obligation to purchase (if the station is a business). It has other initiatives found in the app – like locations of where you can get a discounted coffee if you have a to-go cup – but for today we want to talk about the water-bottle refill scheme.
In 2017-2018, we delivered a project called Refill D+G. This project made Dumfries and Galloway the first region in Scotland to take part in the Refill campaign which addressed marine litter and drove behaviour change.
At the end of the project, 125 businesses and organisations across the region had signed up to the campaign - including the first working lighthouse to be part of the scheme, and the SNP office in Dumfries. If you’re out and about in D+G, look out for the refill sticker – and you can ask businesses/organisations to sign up to become a refill point too.
We’re proud to have delivered this project (and with thanks to the kind donation that funded it), and to add to the many great initiatives within D+G that are working towards various environmentally friendly goals (such as the Galloway Footsteps programme, which support people to reduce their carbon footprint. Find out about the next even on August 7th here: https://gallowayglens.org/galloway-footsteps-inside-the-home/)
This year’s World Refill Day is more important than ever. The pandemic resulted in a huge rise in single use plastics – sometimes reusables were even banned altogether – and as restrictions ease we need to commit to refilling and reusing rather than using and recycling.
If you’re passionate about this, the website gives several options and ideas for ways that individuals can make a difference. Building habits to take the reusable water bottle, to-go cup, cutlery, and bags out with you is often the first step, but there are many more – such as starting your own local refill scheme, similar to our Refill D+G scheme.