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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

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

A Jewel in the Crown Estate?

Monday, 29 July 2019 10:05:29 Europe/London

MIW install a #OneLess bottle filler on South St Alban’s Street, St James.

We don’t want to get ideas above our station, but we’ve just carried out an installation on Crown Estate land, doncha know.

Working with #OneLess and the London Drinking Fountain Fund has taken us to such a huge variety of locations. From the heart of the Natural History Museum to Brixton. And now, here we are, working on Crown land… Which is, of course, just like any other land in the centre of London. Expensive, noisy and very, very busy. Still, it’s nice to feel like we’re doing something just a little bit posh from time to time!

The new drinking fountain and sports bottle filling station has been placed on St Alban’s Street because it’s really flipping busy. With as many – if not more – tourists as workers visiting the area on a daily basis, St James is a hive of human activity. And that means that there’s plenty of opportunity to make a difference by cutting back on waste plastic in the area.

Everyone needs to drink water, but tourists are particularly thirsty customers when it comes to the consumption of bottled water. And you can’t blame them; when you’re away from home you can’t be expected to take everything with you. But that does mean that in areas like St James, with its striking Palace and beautiful parkland, waste plastic can be a serious problem. The new bottle filler should help to tackle that. Example of a new outdoor bottle refill station that was installed South St Alban’s Street

Weather-proof and vandal-resistant, the Halsey Taylor 4405BF Endura II Tubular outdoor bottle filler is a perfect fit for its regal surroundings. It’s high performing, easy to use and accessible to all. It’s also pre-treated with anti-microbial protection, to ensure that users have a safe and healthy drinking experience.

The hope, of course, is that people will use the bottle filler to top up any bottles they might be carrying, rather than picking up new plastic. This way, we can all work together to help reduce the vast amounts of plastic – 8 million tonnes annually – that enter our waterways and wreak havoc on our environment. It’s currently predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the world’s oceans than fish, if we don’t do something to stop the present trend. In donating this bottle filler – and 19 others – to the London Drinking Fountain Fund, all of us at MIW Water Cooler Experts are trying to do our bit. It’s easier for you to do yours – just use the fountains and bottle fillers when you see them.

Crown land, parkland, high street or shopping centre; wherever you are, you have a chance to make a difference. By ditching the single-use plastic and opting to carry your own drinks bottle when you’re out and about, topping up as you go, could have an enormous impact on the environment. And, if you think about it, your bank balance.

So, go on, give it a slurp. Everyone’s a winner if we can put an end to waste plastic.

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.

Who Supplied the Thames Water London Drinking Fountains?

Friday, 19 July 2019 12:01:11 Europe/London

MIW Water Cooler Experts, that’s who!

Goodness, but we’ve had a busy and exciting few months. Well, few years really! As demand has increased to stem the flow of waste plastic, so more and more communities, businesses and organisations have been targeting single-use drinks bottles as the first course of action. As part of that, a large percentage of them have asked MIW to help, our job being the installation of drinking fountains and bottle fillers. And now we’ve started work on one of our biggest projects yet: the #taptasticnotplastic campaign for Thames Water and the GLA.


Following the success of the GLA/London Mayor’s #OneLess collaboration, that saw MIW install 20 public drinking fountains around London last year, the GLA wanted to continue the momentum. Partnering with the team at Thames Water, who were already planning their own initiative to combat waste plastic and encourage more people to drink tap water, #taptasticnotplastic began. And MIW was once again called in to help.New Thames Water bottle refill station in London

The project, this time, was to centre around drinking fountains. And the aim was to make a real impact in the capital’s busiest areas. 100 sites were identified, as preparation for the work started to unfold, we got to work preparing these iconic drinking fountains.

MIW’s role in the Thames Water/GLA drinking fountain project

MIW is the UK’s leading supplier of indoor and outdoor bottle refill stations and drinking fountains. As such, it was natural that we’d be considered for such a significant project. But this was more than just a sourcing and installing job. For this venture, we really needed to bring our expertise to bear. We advised the project management team on both equipment and site suitability. Working with our global partner, Elkay, we adapted the selected units (Halsey Taylor 4400 fountains made from marine-grade stainless steel, with inbuilt strainers and hygiene measures), ensuring that they delivered everything that would be required of them to withstand heavy usage in public places. And we customised each and every one by hand, getting just the right shade of powder coating to finish them. Oh, and that great big water droplet on top? We did that too!

It’s been a challenging job, but we’ve loved every second. Especially knowing the potential difference this could make to the environment – and the way we all live our lives.

Creating a change of culture

The whole idea behind the installation of the Thames Water/GLA drinking fountains is that they will help foster a change of culture. In total, around 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought across the UK each year. In London, the average adult buys more than three plastic water bottles every week. If we’re going to have any kind of impact on waste plastic, that needs to stop. But it’s only going to happen if an alternative infrastructure is in place. That’s what MIW’s work on the #taptasticnotplastic project is all about.

Every London Mayor is remembered for something. There’s Boris Johnson and his eponymous bikes. Ken Livingstone and his controversial congestion charge. For the current Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, it has to be his influence in bringing free, fresh drinking water back to the capital’s streets, and his role in the fight against waste plastic that will take his time in office into posterity. And as political achievements go, that has to be something to be proud of. The team at MIW are certainly proud of their part in it.

So, to answer the question on everyone’s lips: who supplied the Thames Water/GLA drinking fountains? MIW Water Cooler Experts. And we’ve got plenty more exciting jobs still to come!

The first 50 Thames Water/GLA drinking fountains are now in place and open for public use. The remaining 50 will be installed in the coming months.

[Wind] Rushing A New Public Drinking Fountain to Brixton

Monday, 15 July 2019 09:25:30 Europe/London

Brixton’s Windrush Square has become the latest location to benefit from a free-to-use drinking fountain and sports bottle filler, courtesy of MIW, the #OneLess Bottle campaign and the London Drinking Fountain Fund

Named after the SS Empire Windrush, the ship which brought a new generation of much-needed, skilled Caribbean settlers to post-war Britain, the square is a busy, open space in the heart of Brixton’s shopping and recreation area. It’s also used for public events – recently hosting Brixton’s 100 year Armistices Day anniversary service. And it’s the busyness of Windrush Square, and its status as a community focal point that makes it such a perfect pick for a public drinking fountain. Woman refilling her bottle at an outdoor refill station in Windrush Square.

Every location selected to benefit from a #OneLess drinking fountain and bottle filler has needed to meet a particular set of criteria. But the most integral of all is that the location is somewhere where lots of people could potentially benefit from access to free drinking water, and where it could help to reduce the presence of plastic litter.

What is the #OneLess London Drinking Fountain Fund

The London Drinking Fountain Fund was set up by the #OneLess bottle project in collaboration with the London Mayor’s office. The aim is to reduce single-use plastic waste throughout the city, through the provision of free-to-use public drinking water facilities. MIW was already instrumental in the #OneLess campaign when the drinking fountain fund was first mooted. As a company, we’ve been passionate about reducing plastic waste for a long time. Consequently, as soon as the idea was formed, we stepped in to donate 20 bottle filling stations, with built-in drinking fountains, and the labour required to install them in key locations around London. Outdoor bottle refill station with OneLess branding on.

The project began in January 2018, and by the end of December 2018 all 20 units will have been installed. The locations have been varied – from transport hubs to green spaces– but all are united by the high number of people who use them. Each of the bottle fillers has been selected to suit its location, whether indoor or out. They are vandal-proof, weather-proof (where needed), easy to use, and most importantly of all, hygienic, with inbuilt antimicrobial protection – so even the fastidious should have no qualms about using them.

And that’s the point: these bottle fillers and drinking fountains are there to make a difference – in Windrush Square, Camberwell Green, Carnaby Street and beyond. But they’ll only fulfil their purpose if people – like you – use them. So go on; fill your bottles and have a slurp!

Images courtesy of newsfromcrystalpalace.wordpress.com/

Open to Everyone: Kingston’s Market Place Bottle Filling Station

Thursday, 11 April 2019 18:35:35 Europe/London

Open to Everyone: Kingston’s Market Place Bottle Filling Station


Unless you happen to use or have used a wheelchair, it’s probably never crossed your mind how awkward so many things can New Wras Approved MIW Bottle Refill Stations Equality Act 2010be if you have mobility problems. Going to the loo in public conveniences can be a major production. Even navigating shops and restaurants is often far harder than it should be. Then there are the things that seem like they should be easy – like using a public drinking fountain – but turn out not to be easy at all. Fortunately, visitors to Kingston won’t have that problem to worry about. The new bottle filling station that MIW installed in Kingston’s Market Place is fully compliant with the Equality Act (2010), making it open to everyone.

What Do You Look for in a Bottle Filling Station?

When any organisation begins researching the best bottle filling station for their needs, they usually have a few set criteria in mind. They then speak to us and we help them to pin down a few more. Among the most commonly requested features are:

What’s often overlooked, however, is accessibility for all.

Wheelchair Accessible UK Drinking Fountain MIWThe whole idea of public bottle fillers and drinking fountains is to provide a service to the public. And that includes everyone: young; old; male; female; gender fluid; able bodied; and those with disabilities. According to the NHS, there are currently 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK. That’s a huge number of people to be ignoring. That’s why we’re so proud to be able to offer accessible, Equality Act (2010) compliant drinking units from Halsey Taylor.

The Halsey Taylor 4420BF1U Bottle Filling Station

When Kingston’s Parish Councillors contacted MIW for the Market Place bottle filler, they were looking for something that could be used by as many members of the public as possible. It had to meet all of the above criteria. It also had to be quick to use and durable; this isn’t something they want to be replacing every year. The Halsey Taylor 4420BF1U was the obvious option.

Based in the US, Halsey Taylor take pains to ensure that their products are ADA-compliant (Americans with Disabilities Act). When they started exporting to the UK (MIW is their prime UK distributor), they wanted to make sure that their products lived up to British standards too. That’s what makes the Market Place bottle filler such a perfect fit for Kingston – and for every other responsible, inclusive organisation.

Simply the Best: Choosing the Best Water Bottle Refill Station for Your Business

Water bottle refill stations are fast becoming the must-have item for all eco-conscious businesses. They’re a great way to provide an additional service to your customers – and staff – while quietly showcasing the fact that your business is environmentally-aware. But, with so many makes and models now available, how do you know which is the best one for you?

Read More

Top of the Class – The Most Popular Bottle Filler for Schools

Monday, 12 November 2018 07:00:00 Europe/London

Top of the Class – The Most Popular Bottle Filler for Schools

We work with a lot of schools at MIW Water Cooler Expert. Over the years, we’ve installed thousands of drinking water solutions. And if there’s one thing that we’ve learnt, it’s that schools, colleges and universities have very specific needs. And while there’s still room for the traditional stop and slurp drinking fountains, they don’t cater for every demographic. Teenage girls, for example, aren’t overly keen on having to wipe their chins are every drink! And yet, while bottle fillers are growing in popularity, not everyone carries a bottle on them, or wants to add to the weight of the textbooks and tech dragging at their shoulders with a sloshing drinks bottle in their bag.

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