ReFILL Bude empower collective change with a campaign to bring a water bottle refill station to the town.
In this blog, I often talk about the ways in which business can help to facilitate change. How the likes of Adidas, Network Rail and ZSL London Zoo are leading the way in the fight against plastic, through the provision of free-to-use drinking fountains and sports bottle refill stations for their customers. What it’s easy to forget, though, is that there’s a whole lot to be said for people power. And Bude is currently setting a terrific example of that.
The problem of plastic waste is most strongly felt by those who live in seaside towns. Beaches are strewn with bottles and bags and who knows what else. This has led to the creation of numerous litter picking groups all along the British coastline. But the people of Bude have gone several steps further.
Led by Deb Rosser, ReFILL Bude was launched in 2014. The plan was to recruit local shops and cafes to refill reusable water bottles for the public, rather than encouraging them to buy single-use drinks. It seemed like a potentially hard sell, given that many of the establishments involved made money by selling bottled water, but the project was immediately embraced. Heartened by this success, this summer the group is crowd-funding a public drinking fountain and sports bottle refill station from MIW to go in the centre of town. Somewhat pleasingly, it will be sited where an old Victorian drinking fountain once resided, showing that trends often run in cycles.
Bottle fillers don’t cost a huge amount. To complete the project, including purchasing, site prep, installation and setting (the group are planning a plaque to celebrate the biggest donors), ReFILL Bude is looking for just £3,500 from crowdfunding. If a local person donated £50 to the project and used the refill station once a week rather than buying a disposable bottle, they’d break even by the end of the year. Council money would be saved by reducing litter collection fees. And the environment would benefit through a reduction of plastic with the potential to end up in the ocean.
I love stories like this. I love the thought that people are going out there and doing their bit to make a difference to the world. And I really love the idea that we all have the power to do the same. By using #OneLess bottle every day, every week, or even every year (ideally more than that, but we’ve all got to start somewhere!) we can all do something to make the world a cleaner, more sustainable place. For now, and for future generations. What an amazing thought for such a tiny amount of effort.
Hooray for ReFILL Bude. I think you’re all terrific.
If you want to be a part of the Bude ReFILL project, visit Crowdfunder and search fir ‘refill water station’.