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Eateries – Isn’t It Time You Stopped Bottling It?

Friday, 16 August 2019 09:16:04 Europe/London

Water has been a slightly contentious issue for eateries in recent years. While legislation has been passed to enable the paying public to access free drinking water at any licenced establishment in the UK, it wasn’t passed without a fight. Bottled water makes money, so of course it’s understandable that businesses wish to sell it. It’s also understandable that the enterprising – or sneaky – few have found ways around the lost revenue by providing free water, but charging for the rental of the cup (yeah, I know… It does happen). But, with the fantastic movement to reduce waste plastic in full swing, now is the time to ditch that bottled water for good. Plastic bottle lying on the beach.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. It’s fine for me to say that, but it’s not my bottom line that this could be hitting. The thing is though, in providing clearly accessible free water to customers, you’re actually drawing them in. And that’s something that some of the biggest coffee chains on the high street have noticed.

Costa, Starbucks and Pret have all announced that they’ll be offering purchase-free drinking water to the public going forward. At some establishments, you’ll need to queue up and ask. Others are going for the installation of water bottle refill stations, so passers-by can call in and top up without waste – and without wasting staff member’s time. Whichever option they go for, however, the likelihood is that footfall will increase. And let me ask you this – how often do you stop somewhere for a ‘quick drink’ and end up walking away with a belly full of cake or pastry?

Once someone has actually entered your establishment, they are far more likely to part with their pennies than if they just keep on walking by. Especially if they feel that you’re delivering them a valuable service for free. And even if they don’t buy the first time, you’ll be in their mind for every subsequent visit to the area, creating a great impression and building increasing loyalty.Starbucks coffee cup on the beach.

Now, there are numerous ways to cut plastic drinks bottles in a café or restaurant. You could pop a jug of water on the counter. You could ask your customers to queue and your team to nip backwards and forwards to the tap. In my view, the most energy-efficient is the water bottle refill station. There is such a range available now that you can find one to suit practically any setting – indoors or out, free-standing or built-in. They’re low maintenance, low cost, hygienic and fuss-free, while delivering the best tasting water that tap can offer. You can even rent one if you don’t want to commit long-term, in case the current trend makes a change (it won’t!).

Whatever steps you take to reduce waste plastic at your eatery, the important thing is that you take them. Jugs, taps, or professional pieces of kit; the result is the same: fewer bottles going to landfill and fewer bits of plastic littering our oceans. To me, that makes such a lot of sense.

Comments | Posted in Bottle Filler Drinking Fountain MIW News By Kotryna Kairyte

There’s a theory that if you really want to make lasting change, you have to begin with the next generation of decision-makers. And if you want to do that, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) seems like a pretty good place to start. That’s why the LSE was one of the first locations chosen to benefit from one of the 20 free-to-use public drinking fountains and bottle fillers MIW donated to the #OneLess London Drinking Fountain Fund

The #OneLess London Drinking Fountain Fund Group of people smiling at the new London School of Economics drinking fountain.

The aim of both the #OneLess project and the London Drinking Fountain Fund is to reduce the volume of single-use plastic bottles purchased and discarded in the city. The typical Londoner gets through 175 bottles of water per year. That works out to be over a billion bottles of water used throughout the capital annually. While some will go to recycling plants, more than a third will either end up in landfill, or worse, littering our streets and waterways. With around 8 million tonnes of waste plastic entering our oceans every year, it’s becoming a terrifying problem. Marine mammals and birds are becoming trapped in it. And as the plastic gets broken down into smaller and smaller particles, fish are eating it. This brings the plastic into the food chain, killing the smaller organisms that feed the bigger ones. It doesn’t take a genius to spot a potential ecological disaster ahead.

The obvious solution is to try to reduce the amount of plastic waste that we produce as a species. Bringing the whole world into line is a monumental task. But if we all try to do our bit, using #OneLess bottle each, then we CAN make a difference. That’s the motive behind the London Drinking Fountain Fund. It’s a joint project between the #OneLess Campaign – of which MIW is a part – and the London Mayor’s Office. To start the ball rolling, MIW donated and installed the first 20 drinking fountains/bottle fillers. The fourth of which went into LSE.

Green #OneLess drinking fountain mounted to the wall.The LSE Bottle Filler

Of course, the LSE wasn’t really selected for involvement in the campaign for the future influence of its students. Although it could help! The organisation already has a pretty impressive sustainability policy. So, that, combined with its footfall, made it a really good fit for the campaign.

The campus hosts between 8,000 and 9,000 students annually. And students are some of the biggest consumers of bottled water. If each one cut back on just one bottle of water a week, thanks to the new drinking fountain, that could be a reduction of almost half a million plastic bottles on campus per year. What an achievement that would be.

The MIW #OneLess bottle filler – a Halsey Taylor 4405BF - Endura II Tubular Outdoor Bottle Filling Station – was installed next to the Students’ Union building in February 2019. It has already proven a big hit with students and staff alike. Now they just need to keep using it.

Changing the attitudes and habits of a society is no easy task. You can’t do it en masse. And you can’t force people to change. But if you explain a situation and provide an opportunity, then change will happen organically. With the #OneLess bottle campaign and the London Drinking Fountain Fund, we’re just helping to give change a gentle push.

Comments | Posted in Bottle Filler Elkay Drinking Fountain MIW News By Kotryna Kairyte

Tintern Abbey’s Visitor Centre Gains a New Bottle Filling Station

Monday, 12 August 2019 09:07:23 Europe/London

If you’ve ever happened to be driving the A466 along the River Wye and the English-Welsh border, there’s every chance that your attention will have been arrested by the magnificent structure of Tintern Abbey. Like a toy abandoned by giants, the remains of the medieval construction seem to have just been dropped into the landscape. And even in its state of ancient decay, it is utterly compelling and breath-taking.  How lucky did the MIW team feel to be working there recently, then?

As part of the Welsh Assembly’s bid to turn Wales into the World’s first refill nation, Cadw has installed drinking fountains and bottle fillers at its most popular tourist attractions. The department is responsible for the care and upkeep of some of the country’s most important and beautiful historic buildings. The sites, which include Tintern Abbey, attract many thousands of visitors every year. Consequently, finding bottle fillers capable of dealing with such high potential usage while being exposed to the elements, and a company that could be relied upon to service the units before they needed it rather than waiting for problems to occur, was of paramount importance. Naturally, Cadw called upon MIW! New green outdoor bottle refill station at Tintern Abbey

The Tintern Abbey Bottle Filling Station

Situated in the visitor centre, a Halsey Taylor 4405BF - Endura II Tubular Outdoor Bottle Filling Station was selected as the best kind of bottle filler/drinking fountain combo for the visitors of Tintern Abbey. WRAS-approved, the unit has been tested in every conceivable way to ensure both quality and safety. The push-button mechanism is both hygienic and easy to use, delivering a laminar flow of water to ensure that there’s no splashback to dampen users and minimal waste. An in-line filter and silver-ion antimicrobial coating also works to enhance the unit’s hygiene. Vandal-proof and weather resistant, the Halsey Taylor 4405BF may not quite equal Tintern Abbey’s 800 years, but it’s certainly there for the long-haul.

Why Does Tintern Abbey Need a Bottle Filling Station?

Aside from the fact that providing free drinking water is a great customer service, there’s a very serious side to Cadw’s move towards bottle fillers. Waste plastic has become an epidemic blighting the Earth. It’s not always easily recycled. It’s failing to degrade in landfill. And worst of all, it’s finding its way into our waterways and oceans, destroying the ecosystem. How terrible would it be if we were to lose species simply because we couldn’t be bothered to take steps to reduce the amount of plastic we consume? So, that’s what Cadw is doing.

In installing drinking fountains and bottle filling stations at its most popular tourist destinations, Cadw is providing an alternative to single-use plastic bottled water. Rather than buying and discarding multiple drinks bottles, visitors can now refill at will. As more and more responsible organisations take similar steps, a network of drinking fountains and bottle fillers is spreading across the UK. With any luck, it won’t be long before shop bought bottled water is as much a thing of history as Tintern Abbey. But if we start the clean-up process now, future generations hopefully won’t have such an enormous reminder of single-use plastic.

Tintern was only the second Cistercian foundation in Britain, and the first in Wales. Building began in 1131. It’s fair to say that the Abbey has borne witness to a huge amount of change. Let’s hope that it’s now witnessing another change for the good.

27 green acres. At least ten diverse organised sporting facilities. Endless opportunities for independent exercise. Duck pond. Play equipment. Rose garden. Bandstand. Café. And toilets. Paddington Recreation Ground in the heart of the City of Westminster seemed to have it all. In December 2018, MIW installed a fancy new outdoor bottle filler and drinking fountain there. So now, it does!

This, of course, is all part of MIW’s work with the London Drinking Fountain Fund. Working in tandem with the London Mayor’s Office and the magnificent #OneLess bottle campaign, we have spent much of the last year plotting and planning the installation of 20 free-to-use bottle fillers and drinking fountains across the capital. And in the last few months we’ve seen a slew of installations, as worthy locations have been settled upon. Paddington Recreation Ground is one them. The new green bottle refill station mounted to a wall at Paddington Recreation Ground

Paddington Recreation Ground

Opened in 1888, Paddington Recreation Ground was one of the first free-to-use public green spaces in the City of London. It began life as a Victorian work creation scheme; its primary purpose being to get people back to work after a heavy economic slump. It soon became a focal point for local leisure activities. And 130 years later, it attracts more than 1.5 million visitors a year. That’s more than the number of people who actually lived in the whole of London in 1800. Which is quite a staggering statistic.

And it’s this extraordinary visitor figure that made Paddington Recreation Ground such a perfect choice for involvement in the London Drinking Fountain Fund.

The #OneLess London Drinking Fountain Fund

It’s estimated that Londoners get through 1 billion single-use plastic bottles of water every year. And, unfortunately, many of those bottles never make it to a recycling plant, ending up in landfill, or worse, our waterways. We’ve reached the stage where our planet is beginning to choke on plastic. While we can’t get rid of all plastic used in everyday life, we CAN reduce the amount of disposable plastics that we all consume. Replacing shop bought bottled water with refillable bottles and a series of easy to access fillers is the first step along that road. And it’s no small step either; just imagine what 1 million plastic bottles looks like! Take that out of our ecosystem every year, and that’s an enormous change for the good. Make that change in every city across the UK, and the results could be phenomenal.

Paddington Recreation Ground’s New Bottle Filler

The new Halsey Taylor 4405BF Endura II Tubular outdoor bottle filler has been selected to meet the high footfall of Paddington Recreation Ground. It’s easy to use, low-maintenance, and both weather-proof and vandal-resistant. Filtered and treated with silver ion anti-microbial protection, it’s been designed to deliver fresh, hygienic and good-tasting water on demand.

Paddington Recreation Ground has always had a lot to offer. Now, we think that it can claim to have it all.

Comments | Posted in Bottle Filler Elkay Drinking Fountain MIW News By Kotryna Kairyte

Sticking the Boot(s) into Plastic Waste with New Sustainable Concept Store

Wednesday, 7 August 2019 08:33:09 Europe/London

Boots has been a mainstay of the British high street for 170 years. It’s sold us cough syrups and shower gels, prescriptions and personalised gifts, and its innovated services and products as its grown. Now, it’s taking on its biggest challenge yet: the selling of sustainability in a new concept store in London’s Covent Garden. And MIW has been helping, with the installation of a refill station, where customers can top up their water bottles for free.

Boots Store of the Future The outside interior of the new Boots Concept Store in London

We’ve all heard of the holistic approach to wellness. The concept that healing involves looking after the whole person, rather than just the single ailment. Well, this is sort of the idea behind the new Covent Garden Boots store.

Yes, for customers, the theme of the store is ‘wellness and high-octane beauty brands’. But rather than ceasing with the treatment of the person, in this store Boots is looking for ways to both enhance the customer experience and reduce the wider impact of their shopping trip. 

So, what can you expect from the store?

While steps have been taken to phase out plastic shopping bags across the country since 2015, Boots have upped their game. No longer happy with simply charging £0.05 to deter the use of plastic bags, this retailer is leading the way with the introduction of brown paper bags instead.

Security guard drinking water from the new refill station.

The store will stock 32 new sustainable health and beauty brands.

New ‘prescription lockers’ will be trialled to help alleviate the stress of queuing – thus enhancing customer wellness.

In-depth staff training has taken place, so that customers have access to the best available help and advice. 

And yes, the MIW Water Cooler Experts team has been helping out with the installation of a high-capacity public bottle filler. This not only ties in with the sustainability brief, but adds a new layer of service for customers.

The Boots Bottle Filler

Being mooted as a ‘store of the future’, with a strong emphasis on sustainability, all equipment installed in Boots Covent Garden needed to meet with some pretty strict criteria. This made finding the perfect bottle filler both a little bit harder and a little bit easier, narrowing the options to fit in with the brief. In the end, we selected a Halsey Taylor HTHB8-WF - HydroBoost (manufactured by Elkay) the WRAS-approved refill station is guaranteed to meet the stringent water authority guidelines relating to public drinking appliances, but it is also easy to use with hands free operation, wheelchair accessible, and aesthetically pleasing – which all public-facing equipment should be, if it can possibly help it! 

Yellow bottle being refilled at the new bottle filler in Boots.

With an in-built bottle counter, everyone who tops up in Boots will be able to see how many bottles have been saved, and why their solitary act of refilling matters.

The Future

The thing with concept stores is that they can only succeed if the customer embraces them. For Boots, if the Covent Garden store goes well, it could open the potential for a further 78 branches to be converted into sustainability and wellness hubs. And this really matters. Because change, of any kind, can only really happen if it is facilitated.

We’re only ever going to move away from a state where we rely on single-use plastics, if alternatives are provided.

Sustainability is only going to become part of our culture if the products and services are available to support it.

Because, despite the old adage, willingness isn’t always enough. A way must be provided. And with this sustainability concept, Boots is providing that way. And the really encouraging thing here is that Boots is not alone in this drive to promote sustainability. John Lewis, Costa and Asda have all made the headlines for their attempts to cut plastic waste and find sustainable solutions.

Now, it’s down to all of us to show them – and the wider retail community – that there is a demand for it.

Comments | Posted in Bottle Filler MIW News By Kotryna Kairyte

St Davids Bishop’s Palace Takes Waste Plastic to Task

Monday, 5 August 2019 08:27:57 Europe/London

The smallest city in the UK, and purportedly home to the resting place of one of the nation’s patron saints, St Davids is arguably one of the most religiously important places in Britain. It’s certainly one of the most beautiful. Tucked away on the Pembrokeshire coast, it’s a place that emits serenity. Part of that comes from its magnificent cathedral, and its near neighbour, the Bishop’s Palace. Despite its splendour and undeniable drama, the working of centuries has softened the Bishop’s Palace from an imposing statement of wealth and power into something mystical and romantic. No wonder so very many people take time to visit it. But with visitors comes waste plastic and now the site’s owners and caretakers, Cadw, are taking steps to combat it. Introducing the St Davids Bishop’s Palace new drinking fountain and bottle filling station

The St Davids Bishop’s Palace Drinking Station

New green outdoor bottle refill station at St Davids Bishop's Palace.

Situated in the visitor centre, the new drinking fountain has been installed to both provide a free service to the public and help reduce waste plastic. The idea is that if water is freely available, people will refill their bottles rather than replace them. As such, the perfect unit had to be chosen, so Cadw called in MIW to help!

The UK’s leading experts on indoor and outdoor bottle filler installations, MIW has played a significant part in the #OneLess Campaign and London Drinking Fountain Fund. Having installed similar units across London – as well as in numerous other parts of the UK – we knew exactly what the Bishop’s Palace visitor centre needed: A shiny new Halsey Taylor Endura II 4405BF.

Halsey Taylor Endura II 4405BF

Designed for delivering quality at high volume, the [Halsey Taylor] bottle filler and drinking fountain is easy to use, low waste and WRAS-approved. This means that it’s guaranteed safe and secure down to the very last bolt. It delivers water using laminar flow, so users are unlikely to be bothered by splashback, while the inline strainer and silver-ion antimicrobial coating ensure the greatest levels of hygiene. Weather-proof and vandals resistant by design, the unit should be serving the visitors of the St Davids Bishop’s Palace for years to come.New green drinking fountain outside of the visitor centre at St David’s Bishop’s Palace.

The Plastic Problem

Waste plastic is by no means a problem for St Davids alone. Or even just for Wales. While the Welsh Assembly is taking steps to turn Wales into the ‘World’s first refill nation’, the problem of waste plastic is endemic. The amount of plastic waste generated annually in the UK is estimated to be nearly 5 million tonnes. Globally, we use around 100 million tonnes of plastic every year. And it’s destroying our ecosystem. Particularly our oceans.

If we can all take steps to reduce the single-use plastic that we use on a day to day basis, even just by a small amount, we could soon make inroads to resolving the plastic problem. Organisations like Cadw are beginning to make this happen with their bottle filler installations. Now it’s down to the rest of us to play our respective parts. And for most of us, that part will be upgrading our shop bought plastic bottles for refillable alternatives.

Don’t you think that it’s time that you did just that?

Stansted Airport Joins the War on Plastic

Friday, 2 August 2019 08:31:15 Europe/London

As the UK’s fourth busiest airport, Stansted played host to approaching 28 million passengers last year. It’s a transport hub, that’s growing in both popularity and stature, experiencing an 8% surge in customer numbers in the last 12 months alone. That makes it perfectly positioned to help in the war against waste plastic… Which is exactly what the management team are doing – with three shiny new bottle fillers freshly installed by MIW.

New WRAS approved bottle refill station in London Stansted Airport

Stansted goes to battle!

The problem with travelling is that it’s thirsty work. If you’re not hurrying from gate to gate, you’re waiting around with little to do, often laden with luggage. And with justifiably stringent airport security measures in place, it’s unfeasible for you to take your own water. The options, until now, have been to buy eye-wateringly expensive beverages from the on-site cafes and bars, or equally pricy bottled drinks from retailers. The latter obviously comes with concomitant plastic waste. So, it’s really good news for everyone that Stansted has put in place a new policy to help reduce the number of plastic bottles used and abandoned on site. 

The airport’s new refill strategy means that if passengers are carrying a refillable bottle with them, they can ask any restaurant to refill it for free, once they’ve passed through security. In addition to that, the management team asked MIW to advise upon and install three high capacity bottle fillers at various points throughout the site... How good is that?

Stansted’s refill points

MIW supplied the Halsey Taylor Hydroboost (the same model used by Heathrow & Gatwick) for installation at Stansted. WRAS-approved, the Hydroboost is fully compliant with all water authority and Government guidelines relating to public use, which removes any potential concerns for the Stansted team. Wheelchair accessible and ADA rated (Americans with Disabilities Act), the bottle fillers help the airport to comply with the Equality Act (2010), while being easy to use for everyone. They’re also capable of serving a high volume of users, quickly and cleanly. And with an inbuilt bottle counter, all users can see the difference they’re making to the environment by refilling rather than repurchasing.

Customer refilling their reusable water bottle at the new bottle filler.

The bottle fillers have also been carefully positioned to help provide access to the highest possible number of users. If you’re visiting the airport on your way abroad this summer, you can find them in:

- the Departures area between Pret and Coast to Coast
- before entering passport control on the right-hand side
- and in the Baggage Hall next to the toilet entrance

But don’t worry; they’re so well signposted that you don’t need to remember any of that if you’re intending to use them!

Airport bottle fillers are taking off

UK adults get through a tremendous number of plastic bottled drinks. In fact, it’s believed that each of us buy in the region of 150 bottles of water every year. The chances are, a goodly percentage of those are consumed in transport hubs like rail stations and airports. That’s why Stansted’s move to tackle the problem is such good news. And it’s even better news that they’re not alone.

MIW has already supplied Heathrow, Gatwick and Aberdeen airports with bottle fillers and drinking fountains. Between these four sites, that’s more than 154 MILLION people potentially catered for. And a whole lot less rubbish to dispose of!

Just imagine the difference it could make to the environment if all the country’s airports – and all their passengers – joined the refill revolution. The war on waste plastic could very soon be won.

Comments | Posted in Bottle Filler Drinking Fountain MIW News By Kotryna Kairyte

UV Water Treatment vs Bacteria and Viruses – All You Need to Know

Wednesday, 31 July 2019 09:03:10 Europe/London

One of the greatest concerns that any business faces when providing beverages of any kind for staff or customers is hygiene. Inadequate standards of hygiene can have a catastrophic effect on both individuals and companies. For the most part, this is limited to a few upset tummies and a visit from Environmental Health. But in some terribly upsetting cases, waterborne bacteria and viruses in professional equipment have led to deaths. No business can ever recover from that. Few would want to.

We often associate poor hygiene in food and drink with dirt. We expect it to be visible to the naked eye. Maybe characterised by mould or obvious decay. But the truth is that the most harmful bacteria are often totally invisible. They go untreated because out of sight is literally out of mind. And that’s where problems start. Especially in the case of equipment such as water coolers, where to all appearances the dispensers look perfectly clean.

So, what do you do? It all sounds a little bit scary. But maintaining hygiene standards in water coolers and other drinking equipment is easily done. Especially with the use of a UV steriliser. Bacteria microscope

What is UV sterilisation?

Ultraviolet has been used in large-scale water sanitation for around 75 years. In many countries it is used as an alternative to chlorination – its one truly major benefit being that it removes the need of adding chemicals to water. It doesn’t work for everything. It is not, for example, recommended for the treatment of water where faecal coliform is present in high numbers… But if you have faecal anything in your drinking water you have bigger issues to worry about anyway! And it can help with some of the other significant contaminates.

UV water sterilisers are now available for small-scale water dispensers, including water coolers, drinking fountains and bottle fillers.

What does UV sterilisation target?

UV can be used to cleanse water of all sorts of unwelcome additions, from basic mould to some of the most frequently found bacteria. These include Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Giardia and Legionella; some of the most common waterborne contaminates. They are also some of the most harmful.

UV sterilisation and Legionella

Legionella has a sort of fearful mystique about it. Largely because it can be impossible to know if your equipment is spreading it. Until about 50 years ago, no one knew what caused ‘Legionnaire’s Disease’, let alone how to treat it. Although things have advanced since the 1970s, the bacteria that causes the problems, Legionella, is still known as ‘the invisible killer’. There are more than 50 different species of Legionella. And if it gets into the human body it can be deadly.

The good news is that although carried in water, Legionella is usually only dangerous if airborne. The bacteria work upon the lungs and respiratory system, so need to be inhaled – perhaps via a contaminated air-conditioning unit, or even in the shower – to cause serious illness. To that end, the NHS state that you cannot usually contract legionella by drinking water containing the bacteria. The main issue here would be if you choked while drinking, accidentally inhaling the bacteria.

So, while Legionella may not be an urgent concern when it comes to your water cooler, it is still worth taking precautions. And UV exposure can kill Legionella almost instantly. Within just a few seconds the bacteria is destroyed, leaving water safe for all. And because no chemicals have been used to clean it, the water will taste and smell exactly as it should do. Water cooler with with an inbuilt LED UV sterilisation system

How do UV water sterilisers work?

UV is basically a type of radiation. When bacteria – or other unwanted microbes – is directly exposed to a concentrated dosage, it is damaged at a cellular level. This stops the bacteria from reproducing, which is what prevents it from being dangerous. This cleans the water without impacting on taste or odour. 

Are there any other benefits to UV light water treatment?

Apart from its efficacy, one of the primary attractions of UV water treatment is that it’s cost-effective. Perhaps counterintuitively, it uses a very small amount of power. So, after the initial modest expense, you’re paying very little.

The units are also very easy to install and require minor maintenance other than cleaning to ensure clarity.

It’s also chemical-free, safe, reliable and environmentally friendly. All major plus points. The only thing that can stop a UV filter from working effectively is if water contains a high number of ‘suspended solids’ – waste particles – as these prevent the UV from passing through the fluid effectively. But this is highly unlikely to be the case in the UK. Especially not if your water dispenser is filtered.

With the demand for public water dispensers growing, more and more companies are looking for convenient, efficient, cost-effective solutions for their workspaces. And ease of maintenance is often high on the list of concerns. But for many, internal hygiene is only an after-thought when it should be a priority. A UV steriliser is the perfect solution for handling a very important problem.

Plastic-Free Sidcup Boosted with #OneLess Drinking Fountain

Friday, 26 July 2019 09:20:20 Europe/London

The whole point of the #OneLess project and the London Drinking Fountain Fund has been to promote change. Specifically, to change people’s attitudes and habits when it comes to single-use plastic. MIW has been involved in both campaigns from the off, playing an advisory role, and donating 20 drinking fountains and sports bottle filling stations for installation around London. The hope there is that having access to free drinking water will persuade people to buy fewer plastic bottles. As the project has developed, we’ve found worthy homes for all of our drinking fountains. From Carnaby Street to Guy’s hospital and the Horniman Museum and Garden, the locations have been varied, but Sidcup town centre stands out as a little bit different. It made the list because the town had already started making inroads into reducing plastic waste.New outdoor vandal-resistant bottle refill station in Sidcup

Plastic-Free Sidcup

On Saturday 26th May 2018, Plastic-Free Sidcup was launched. Reusable coffee cups and reusable shopping bags were handed out to the public, free of charge. Businesses were also audited to find out where plastic was being used and if it was possible to make simple reductions. And this is exactly what needs to be happening throughout the country if we’re going to succeed in reducing waste plastic nationwide – and protecting the environment globally.

It’s these steps that primarily worked to win Sidcup their free bottle filler and drinking fountain, which was installed in Nisbett Walk. Because how good would it be if we could really make Sidcup plastic free? All it takes is for one town to lead the way for others to follow. And it’s becoming increasingly urgent that they should.

The London Plastic Problem

On one day in 2017, 2,500 plastic bottles were collected from the banks of the River Thames. Water bottles were the most common type found. And while the Thames is nowhere near Sidcup, the River Cray – a tributary of the River Darent, which flows northward into the Thames – does flow through the town. It’s not unreasonable, therefore, to assume that some of those plastic bottles could have come from Sidcup. In fact, it’s not unreasonable to assume that some of those bottles came from every place with a river leading to a tributary of the Thames. The River Thames has 51 tributaries. 

We’ve reached the stage where 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean from land every year. And it’s destroying our marine life; choking them, trapping them; then moving into other parts of the ecosystem as other creatures feed upon the poor remains. If we don’t work together to stop this, the end result could be catastrophic.

Plastic free Sidcup purple banner with plastic bottles in the background.

This is why it’s important to support the people and the places that are making a stand and working to cut single-use plastics from their lives. So, three cheers for Sidcup. Long may your good work continue. And long may you enjoy your Halsey Taylor 4400BF - Endura II Tubular bottle filler, which has been designed specifically fo outdoor use. It’s weather-proof, vandal-proof, easy to use, filtered and finished with silver-ion anti-microbial treatment for enhanced hygiene.

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