Got the bottle? Cardiff has!

Cardiff University’s Water Research Institute has joined an award-winning campaign which is preventing plastic pollution by making it easy and free for people to refill water bottles at numerous locations across the UK.

As the local champion for Refill Cardiff, the Water Research Institute is helping not-for-profit organisation City to Sea introduce Refill Stations across Cardiff, by encouraging local businesses to sign up and provide free water.

The number of Refill Stations in Cardiff currently stands at 80 but is growing rapidly. Businesses that have signed up so far include cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, libraries and a theatre. Once signed up, each organisation is registered on a free app that allows users to locate a Refill Station. Participating organisations are also given a sticker to place in their window to alert passers-by to the fact they’re welcome to fill up a bottle for free.

The average adult buys more than three plastic water bottles every week - a startling 175 bottles every year per person. 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 our oceans.

At the Water Research Institute, scientists from across Cardiff University are working to find solutions to global water challenges such as plastics pollution and recently set up the ‘Plastics from source to sink’ group which is researching sustainable behaviours around plastic use, designing more environmentally-friendly plastics, and investigating the potential impact of plastics on freshwater ecosystems.

Professor Isabelle Durance, Director of Cardiff University’s Water Research Institute, said: “We are very excited to be championing the Refill movement in Cardiff. The University is committed to reducing its energy, water and plastic use. Simple but effective schemes like Refill are a great way to achieve this, but perhaps as importantly, to make us more aware of the need to better manage our natural resources.

“In addition to promoting the campaign, we are providing Refill Stations in several of our campus buildings, empowering staff, students and the whole community to care for our environment for future generations.”

Rod Thomas from Viva Organic - one of the businesses in Cardiff signed up to the Refill campaign - said: “Refill Cardiff gives us all the opportunity to help make this type of needless litter a thing of the past. We hope that by providing free water refills we can help raise awareness of the amount of plastic we are consuming and discarding in our everyday lives. With the decline in public water fountains, we are glad to supply the local community with a free and natural resource.

“It also makes great economic sense as we attract a higher number of likeminded, environmentally conscious customers to frequent the store more often, and also passers-by who may not have otherwise come to the store.”

Now boasting a network of over 15,000 Refill Stations, Refill was started in 2015 by City to Sea - a not-for-profit organisation headed by entrepreneur Natalie Fee.

Across Wales the scheme is being rolled out with full support of Welsh Government and water companies D?r Cymru and Hafren Dyfrdwy.

Hannah Blythyn, Environment Minister said: "More water Refill points in our villages, towns and cities will help cut down on the amount of single-use plastics we use. This is another step towards my ambition of Wales becoming the World’s first ’Refill Nation’.”

Businesses that have signed up in Cardiff include: Sherman Theatre; Lush; Big Moose Coffee Co; Starbucks; The Little Man Garage; Grangetown Hub; KIN + ILK Pontcanna; Sport Wales National Centre; Viva Organic; Pipes Beer Brewery; The Ivor Davies; Morrisons Cardiff; Peter Alan Estate Agents; Archers Arena; The Mount Stuart; Cardiff Metropolitan University; Llandaff North and Gabalfa Hub; Rumney Partnership Hub; Rhydyprennau Library; Maes y Coed Community Centre; Costa Coffees; The Cosy Club; Bill’s Restaurants; John Lewis and Partners; The Great Western; Café by Benugo; Cardiff Central Library; Hub; Cardiff Students’ Union; Brewdog Cardiff; 200 Degrees Coffee; The Central Bar; The Ernest Willows; YHA Hostel; Premier Inn Hotels; Brewers Fayre; The Little Mann Coffee Co; The Gatekeeper; The Prince of Wales.