It’s the hottest day in July and you’ve spent the entire afternoon peeling yourself off pieces of furniture and eating Cornettos. You’re sticky, dressed in the kind of tiny top only acceptable in European beach towns, and in desperate need of water. In a sunstroke-induced daze, you reach into your bag for a bottle, only to find it empty. Thus, you are faced with a choice: spend £1 on a new water bottle and personally choke a turtle to death, or die.
This dilemma, however, could soon be a thing of the past as the UK Government looks to introduce hundreds of free water refill points at cafes, bars, and restaurants across England. The initiative, which already has chains including Costa Coffee and Premier Inn on board, is set to be complete by 2021.
After growing public concern over the impact of plastic waste on the environment (a.k.a. that Blue Planet II episode that made us all give a shit about birds eating bottle caps), the move is being welcomed by many, including environmental charities and campaigners. According to the BBC and Water UK, the initiative could see plastic bottle use reduced by tens of millions a year—an encouraging thought after it was reported that the fish we eat contain tiny bits of plastic and that the sea could have more plastic than fish by 2050.
Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner for Greenpeace UK, told MUNCHIES that making it easier for the public to refill old water bottles is a step in the right direction. She said: “It's very encouraging to see this community initiative being supported […] because of its own direct impact in potentially reducing the flood of plastic bottles, and because it shows the broad cooperation which will be essential in confronting the plastic problem as a whole.”
She continued: “If governments, supermarkets, manufacturers, and consumers all work together, we can make the changes we need fast enough to save our oceans.”
Fingers crossed for no more plastic-y fish and chips, eh?