Survey finds that Brits demand more water refill stations

A survey from BRITA UK has unveiled that 70 per cent of Brits would use a reusable water bottle if refilling it was more easily accessible.

Drinking fountain water fountain
Drinking fountain water fountain

Image credit: 'Stainless steel sink' by Joseph Mutalwa (Unsplash License)

Josh Templeman

A survey from BRITA UK has unveiled that 70 per cent of Brits would use a reusable water bottle if refilling it was more easily accessible.

The figures come as the Government’s ban on single-use plastics fails to include plastic bottles.

Single-use bottled water makes a significant contribution to the global climate crisis, with convenience frequently cited by consumers as a primary reason for purchasing.

Britons reportedly spend an estimated £1.6 billion annually on bottled water, a considerable amount of which is imported from abroad at an environmental cost. A white paper launched this year, conducted by Retail Economics and commissioned by BRITA and the WDC, has revealed this trend shows no signs of halting, with plastic bottle sales estimated to grow by over 280 million in the coming three years.

Contributing to the escalating levels of plastic pollution and causing considerable environmental harm to our society, 13 million tonnes of plastic annually find their way into our seas, beyond littering our streets and filling landfills.

The results of the survey come amid fresh calls from campaigners and politicians alike to increase the number of refill stations in towns and cities.

Encouraging refill and reuse through the upscaling of water fountain infrastructure will lead to a crucial decrease in the number of plastic bottles purchased each day –  which currently sits at 10 million – helping to mitigate climate change.

These calls come in the wake of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's contentious move to backtrack on various green policies outlined in the government's initial 25-year Environment Plan, raising concerns that essential environmental targets might be missed.

Managing Director for BRITA UK, David Hall, commented on the results, urging the Government to act to support the public’s environmental concerns.

He stated: “The Government won’t be able to reach its targets on waste reduction and environmental protection unless the sale of single-use plastic bottled water is added to the plastics ban.

“There needs to be an alternative infrastructure in place that will support long-term behaviour change and a mainstream culture of refill and reuse.

“Having access to free, clean tap water when out and about in towns and cities across the country should be a given.

“We urge the Government to invest in the necessary infrastructure to ensure water fountains are widely available for the public to help them make changes to their drinking habits for the good of the environment."