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National Refill Day 2019: Public urged to show they’ve #GotTheBottle to ditch single use plastic

  • New survey reveals that three quarters of Brits think single-use plastic should be socially unacceptable
  • High street chains, Greggs, Pret and Sweaty Betty are the latest to join the ‘Refill Revolution’ providing free drinking water for all – taking the total number of Refill stations to more than 20,000
  • It is estimated that the Refill campaign will have stopped over 100 million single-use bottles from becoming waste by the end of 2019

Buying single-use plastic water bottles could soon be seen to be as bad as littering, spitting in public, queue-jumping, and playing loud music on public transport, according to a new survey to mark National Refill Day on 19th June 2019.

As part of the award-winning Refill campaign, the public are now being urged to stop buying single-use plastic water bottles and switch to refillable ones to help fight the tide of plastic waste.

Three out of four British people in the OnePoll survey said society should move towards single-use plastic being socially unacceptable, with the research also revealing that an overwhelming majority of the public (86%) are now worried about the impact of plastic pollution in the environment.

Despite the public wanting to take action on plastic pollution, sales of bottled water continue to grow. Sales in the UK hit a record £558.4m in the year to last November, an increase of 7%, according to the latest figures from the market analyst Kantar. According to the Environmental Audit Committee consumption of bottled water has doubled over the last 15 years, with over 7 billion plastic water bottles used each year in the UK.

 The UK public can support National Refill Day by switching from single-use to a reusable bottles and sharing their commitment on social media, by telling the world they’ve #GotTheBottle to prevent plastic pollution.

National Refill Day, on June 19th is the centrepiece of the Refill campaign, with a nationwide day of activity all over the country. At Canary Wharf, London, commuters will get the chance to refill at the interactive ‘Hydration Station’. Every time a member of the public refills at the station they will be able to digitally ‘free the fish’ on a nearby billboard – raising awareness of the impact of plastic pollution on our oceans.

In addition, some of the UK’s busiest Network Rail stations (Birmingham, London Paddington and London Bridge and Charing Cross) will have teams on the ground directing people to the new Network Rail water fountains. There will also be local activity up and down the country organised by water companies and more than 200 volunteer-led local Refill Schemes.

Natalie Fee, founder of City to Sea, the organisation behind the Refill campaign, said: “It’s been incredible to watch the Refill campaign flourish over the past few years. National Refill Day is something that everyone can get onboard with and has the potential to drastically reduce the amount of unnecessary single-use plastic we use when we’re out and about. People want to help prevent plastic pollution, and Refill puts the power to do that in their hands.”

Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of Water UK, said: “The water industry is committed to playing its part in reducing the plastic waste which clogs up our drains and blights our rivers and beaches. National Refill Day is an essential part of this commitment and is a great opportunity for people to get involved in the battle against single use plastic.

“This country enjoys some of the best drinking water in the world, and we’ve made it easier than ever for people to make the pledge on National Refill Day to switch to a reusable bottle and fill up for free on the go.”

Environment Minister, Thérèse Coffey said: “It is great to see Refill day go from strength to strength, with even more major retailers making it easy to access free water refills, and over 20,000 refill points now listed on the app. I encourage everyone to download the Refill app and join in with the effort, helping to protect our precious environment one refill at a time.”

National Refill Day was launched last year by City to Sea, as part of the Refill campaign, with the support of Water UK, the organisation representing the main water companies in the UK. The goal of Refill is to normalise refilling and make it as easy as possible for people to find free, high-quality, drinking water on the go. They want to create a national network of high street retailers, coffee shops, transport hubs and businesses offering to let the public to top-up their water bottles for free in every major city and town in England by 2021. There are also new water fountains being put into public spaces. People can download the free app to find out where the nearest refill point is or look out for special signs in shop windows.

The number of Refill points listed on the app in the UK has just passed 20,000, including train stations, airports and high street chains like Starbucks, Costa and Wetherspoons. As part of the activity for National Refill Day it’s been revealed that Greggs, Sweaty Betty and Parkdean Resorts have recently pledged their support and are now listed on the free Refill app.

Earlier this year water companies outlined plans to prevent the equivalent of 4 billion plastic bottles ending up as waste by 2030 as part of their Public Interest Commitment.


For further information and to arrange interviews with Natalie Fee, Michael Roberts or participants in Refill such as shops and cafes contact:

Full research available on request.

Assets available: images, additional stats, detailed briefing sheet, logos, outside broadcast locations.

Press pack available here

Notes to editors:

About Refill

Refill is an award-winning campaign to prevent plastic pollution at source by making it easier to reuse and refill your water bottle on the go than to buy a single-use plastic bottle. The campaign works by connecting people who are looking for water, with thousands of local business, transport hubs and public spaces where they can refill for free via a location-based app.  The app has been downloaded more than 140,000 times and there are now over 20,000 Refill Stations in the UK including Pret, Starbucks, Costa, Greggs, Wetherspoons, Premier Inn, John Lewis, Morrisons, Network Rail and Heathrow.

It is estimated that the Refill campaign will have saved over 100 million single-use bottles from entering our waste stream by the end of 2019.

Refill is a City to Sea and Water UK campaign. City to Sea are an award-winning not for profit, campaigning to prevent plastic pollution. The organisation was founded by environmental campaigner, Natalie Fee in 2015.

About National Refill Day

National Refill Day launched for the first time in 2018 to encourage people to switch from single-use plastic water bottles to a reusable bottle and to refill on the go using the free Refill app. Last year the campaign reached over 33 million with support from DEFRA, The NHS, The Mayor of London and hundreds of brands and partners.

Regional events

Water companies and Refill groups will be hosting events and activations across the country as part of National Refill Day. Activities include:

  • The Refill team will be at College Green in Bristol where Bristol Water and Bristol Council will be launching a new fountain
  • Attendees at the Lincolnshire Show will have the opportunity to fill up their reusable bottles at Anglian Water’s Refill bar. The company is also holding a plastic bottle amnesty, with the support of the show and the council, to find out how many bottles are used at the event
  • In Newcastle, Northumbrian Water staff will be taking to the city centre with their mobile community vehicle encouraging shoppers to download the app and find their nearest Refill station
  • In Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford will be opening a new water fountain at Cardiff Airport
  • Severn Trent Water is hosting an ‘Action Day’ in Birmingham with volunteers recruiting members of the public and encouraging them to ditch single-use plastic bottles.
  • In Scotland Refill Borders are launching their campaign at the Borders Book Festival where Will McCallum will also be launching his new book “How to Give Up Plastic”. The Refill Borders team will be there from the 13th to the 16th June to promote the campaign.

Water UK

Water UK is the trade body representing all of the major water and wastewater companies in the UK. Our members provide drinking water to nearly 64 million people every day. The water industry has set out ambitious plans to prevent the equivalent of 4 billion plastic bottles ending up as waste as well as improving 8,000 km of rivers and waterways over the next few years.

As part of the Refill campaign, every water company in England aims to ensure people can refill their water bottles in every major town and city across the UK by 2021. The partnership could save a billion bottles by 2025 with Refill Stations on every high street across the UK.

Campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who featured the Refill campaign on the first episode of the new BBC series ‘War on Plastic,’ said;  “We know we have a huge issue with single-use plastic and plastic bottled water is one of the worst offenders – and the easiest to sort!  The Refill campaign provides a simple and practical solution by connecting people with free drinking water on the go. National Refill Day invites all of us to show we’ve got the bottle to prevent plastic pollution by switching from single-use plastic to a reusable bottle. Let’s prove that we have”.