Our responsible business commitment to support the tap water refill campaign to reduce plastic bottled water.
We provide a fantastic product that is cheap and wholesome, we want people to trust that their water is good to drink and value the product as vital for their health.
Our engagement to develop our responsible business programme showed that concern about plastic pollution of water was high on the agenda for our customers and stakeholders and was something they wanted and expected to see us active on.
Our employees also want to be involved as they care about the future of water.
This activity contributes to the WaterUK Public Interest Commitment to prevent the equivalent of four billion plastic bottles ending up as waste by 2030.
We aim to increase the number of refill-designated businesses within our region which will support opportunity for consumers to choose the option of tap water. We will also run an annual hydration campaign to promote tap water as a great choice.
Desired impact – For more people to be using tap water rather than single-use bottled water.
How have we performed?
Despite a very strange year we are pleased to say by the end of March there were 862 refill designated stations in our area. We didn’t receive as many people recording that they had refilled using the Refill App – just 78, but this was due to the impact of Covid-19 lockdown (see below).
The partnership relationship between WaterUK and City to Sea came to an end in December 2020 but we have been working closely with local groups such as the Seaford Refill Group to support their community initiatives in the meantime. We were delighted to support the installation of three drinking water fountains along the seafront so visitors to the coast can keep hydrated and also learn about the local water sources, the beautiful chalk aquifers that can be seen along the cliffs.
Impact of Covid-19
Understandably the Refill programme has been impacted by Covid-19 lockdown. Many refill stations had to close, such as cafes or shops, or temporarily were not accepting refills due to hygiene reasons. The numbers began to increase in September, October – but reduced again in November there was a small increase seen in December. That said the number has increased this year compared to the benchmark of 500 in 2017/18 as environmental interest continues to increase and we were close to our target of 900 refill stations for the year.