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If you want to appreciate the glory of our planet, you don’t need to travel far. Just visit a garden. The Victorians knew that. That’s why they created the Horniman Museum and Gardens. It’s a place formed to celebrate the Earth and everything on it. And throughout the years the 16-acre site in South London’s Forest Hill has played home to diverse internationally important collections, from musical instruments to anthropology. But it’s crowning glory has always been its gardens – and the animals who live in them. And this has led to the foundation behind the institution becoming increasingly involved in conservation.Woman refilling at an outdoor bottle refill station in Horniman Museum and Gardens.

It’s fitting, then, that the Horniman Museum & Gardens has been chosen as one of the sites to benefit from the #OneLess campaign’s London Drinking Fountain Fund. With work already underway, researching the conservation of coral and barrel jellyfish, the team at the Horniman were well aware of the problems of plastic waste and the impact it is having on our oceans. Consequently, the organisation was already making inroads into reducing plastic waste on its grounds by offering a free water refill service in its café. But now, visitors will be able to help themselves at the swanky new MIW-donated-and-installed Halsey Taylor outdoor bottle filling station and drinking fountain.

Dr Emma-Louise Nicholls, chair of the Horniman’s staff-run Sustainability Group which oversees the Horniman’s programme of continuous environmental improvement, says: ‘We’re constantly looking for ways to make a visit to the Horniman ‘greener’, so we’re delighted to have been chosen as one of the sites for the new refill points. We’ve been making good progress in reducing single-use plastics on site… this new refill point is an important and positive step, encouraging our visitors to use more refillable water bottles, and help the Horniman protect our environment.”

#OneLess branded bottle filler.And our environment really does need protecting. Around 8 million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans every year. And if plastic pollution goes unchecked, it is estimated that there will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in the ocean by 2025. By 2050, plastic in the ocean could outweigh fish. That’s a scary, scary thought, especially when there are steps that we can all take to make sure that it does not happen.

The #OneLess campaign, of which MIW is a part, was formed by ZSL London Zoo to take positive steps to fight against that tide of waste plastic. Working in collaboration with the London Mayor’s Office, the London Drinking Fountain Fund is one small part of the solution. MIW donated 20 outdoor bottle filling stations to the campaign and our team have been working hard installing them at deserving sites around the capital. While all sites have been carefully chosen, the Horniman Museum and Gardens feels particularly apposite. It strikes a chord going back through the years to the founder’s vision of sharing and conserving. And it’s been a great project for us to work on. Now, we just hope that the bottle filler makes as much of a positive contribution to the community as its host has done through the last 130 years! 

Helo Cymru! MIW Move over the Border with Work for the Welsh Government

Wednesday, 10 July 2019 14:49:26 Europe/London

One of the best things about MIW is that we get to work for all sorts of people in all sorts of places. And the most recent work we’ve been doing, for Cadw – the Welsh Government's historic environment service – has taken us to some of the most spectacular locations in MIW’s history. Think baths dating back to Roman times, castles erected in the 13th Century in a bid to pacify the Welsh, and a monastery (later developed into a Bishop’s Palace) once visited by William the Conqueror. The mind boggles at such beauty and history. And it’s been our very great privilege to help make each of them a little more visitor friendly for the modern dwristiaid (that’s ‘tourist’ in Welsh, in case you were wondering!).

MIW and Cadw

Amongst other things, Cadw is responsible for protecting, maintaining and servicing 22 sites of historical interest across Wales. They see to their upkeep, oversee restorations, and help to make each site as accessible to as many visitors as possible. Part of that involves providing facilities. Another part involves ensuring that all facilities are as clean and tidy as possible. A few months ago, Cadw came to MIW Water Cooler Experts to see if we could help with both of these areas – aiming to reduce litter while providing a lovely new service for all visitors: a bottle refill station. And so we got to work, installing Halsey Taylor Endura II 4405BF tubular bottle filling stations in 10 of Cadw’s most popular and beautiful locations.

Why the Halsey Taylor Endura II?A man refilling his water bottle at a green bottle filler.

Specifically designed for outdoor use, the Endura II is vandal-proof, weather-proof, durable (as the name implies!) and easy to use. It has a fast bottle fill rate, ideal for catering for visitors to busy tourist attractions. It has an inbuilt strainer, to ensure that water remains at its highest quality at all times. And, importantly for such stunning and ancient locations, these bottle fillers are discreet; small, curvy and green, they blend into their surroundings well, providing a service without creating an eye-sore.

The Locations

The bottle fillers have been located in heritage sites throughout Wales:

- Caerphilly Castle
- Conwy Castle
- Harlech Castle
- Laugharne Castle
- Raglan Castle
- Rhuddlan Castle
- St David’s Bishop’s Palace
- Tintern Abbey

They’re largely stationed around the visitor’s centre and have been provided to help reduce single-use plastic waste littering the sites, as well as to give visitors access to lovely fresh water, without having to pay for it.

This has been one of my favourite jobs to collate, and the MIW team have really enjoyed seeing all (or at least half!) of what Cadw have to offer. If you haven’t been to these places already, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Plan a trip now – and don’t forget to take a reusable bottle with you. I know for certain that 10 Halsey Taylor Endura II bottle fillers are just waiting to say ‘Helo’!

MIW Gets Newport On-Stream in Time for National Refill Day and Becomes the Official Refill Drinking Fountain Supplier!

Refill.org has been a pioneer in the war on waste plastic. Leading the way in promoting change by encouraging a refill culture and helping communities to cut waste plastic by building a network of drinking water refill sites, Refill is the go-to website if you want to find free drinking water. The organisation’s ethos is something that MIW Water Cooler Experts has shared for some years now. We’re passionate about cutting back on single-use plastic. That’s way we donated 20 bottle filling stations to the #OneLess London Drinking Fountain Fund. And now, we’re very excited to announce that we have become the official Refill drinking fountain supplier.

Newport and MIW

Just a few weeks ago, we were contacted by Newport City Council to help with the provision and installation of two outdoor bottle filling stations. The council were looking for WRAS-approved (Water Regulation Advisory Scheme) dispensers to ensure the highest possible quality of water and equipment. But they also needed the bottle fillers to be vandal resistant and weather-proof – with a particular emphasis on freeze-resistance, so that there would be no disruption in availability throughout winter. Being fitted in public places the units also needed to be easy to use and maintain, and fast to work in order to cope with the potentially high demands of summer. The council needed MIW to recommend a suitable unit and arrange installation.

Well, the choice of unit was easy enough – the Halsey Taylor 4420BF1U ticked all of the boxes. But for installation, the time was ticking. Newport City Council had a deadline for us. The drinking fountains needed to be installed, working and available to the public by National Refill Day on 19th June, 2019. We had just 15 business days to get working.

And as it turns out, we had time to spare!

Speedy Does It

Installing outdoor drinking fountains and bottle fillers isn’t always easy. Largely because, dependent on location, a lot of groundwork can be needed. And it looked like that may be the case for Newport. But MIW was not to be defeated! If you need a water dispenser in a hurry but don’t already have the infrastructure in place (few locations do), then a Direct Bury Adapter  takes care of all of the hard work. This clever device is simply fixed to the ground, allowing the water dispenser to lock into place on top and all services to be fed through. It’s quick, easy and relatively low cost. Because of this – and, of course, the innate brilliance of the MIW team, which goes without saying – from first picking up the phone to the first bottle being filled with water, took just 15 days. And that even included customising the bottle fillers so that they were painted blue rather than the standard green.

Yes, you’re quite right, we did surpass ourselves!

Refill.org and MIW

Thus far, Refill has collated the details of more than 20,000 free drinking water sites across the UK. The organisation supplies support and advice for companies looking to reduce their plastic footprint. And information to members of the public who wish to top up rather than chuck out. They are one of the most influential voices in the move to cut waste plastic. And now MIW is one of Refill’s official suppliers.

And we couldn’t be happier.

Comments | Posted in MIW News Outdoor Drinking Fountain By Mike Winter

A Star is Born – Watch Out for a New Addition to the Cast of Corrie

Slim, statuesque, doesn’t say much but puts a lot of stock into method acting. Introducing the latest bright young thang to join the cast of Coronation Street: Halsey Taylor Endura.

Yep, that’s right; one of MIW’s finest proteges has hit the big time and can now be seen gracing the world’s most famous cobbles six times a week… Filling bottles for celebrities like the pro that it is. And we can honestly say that fame has not yet gone to its head. Of course, we do take some credit for that; we ensure that all work conducted by MIW is fully grounded.

So, how did this come about?

Coronation Street and MIW

Back in December 2018, “Plastic-Free Greater Manchester” was launched in collaboration with Refill Manchester. Spearheaded by Hotel Football owner and ex-Manchester United player, Gary Neville, and supported by the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, the campaign was founded to make Greater Manchester the first UK city-region to ditch single-use plastics. Working with businesses, hospitality venues and tourist attractions the group brainstormed ways to remove all single-use plastics – drinks bottles, straws, cutlery, coffee cups and plastic-wrapped foods – from the city.

A huge number of companies got involved. Cafes, hotels and restaurants have been leading the way. BBC North has removed a serious number of single-use plastics from its canteen and coffee shops. And now ITV has gone one step further; not just providing a bottle filler for cast and crew to use instead of plastic-bottled water. But asking MIW to install a beautifully charismatic little number actually on the UK’s favourite street… Or, at least, in Corrie’s communal gardens.

Why is this important? Because bottle fillers will only help to make a difference in the fight against waste plastic if they are used. Topping up a drinks bottle instead of buying a new one needs to become second nature. And seeing it happen, naturally and without comment on the world’s longest running soap, will surely help to make the refill culture become part of the public consciousness. Without browbeating or duress.

Corrie’s Bottle Filler

The Halsey Taylor Endura II 4400BF was selected for Coronation Street because it’s a really good all-rounder. It’s small and aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, low maintenance and low mess. Designed to fill bottles with laminar flow, it is quick and clean to use, so there should be no need for retakes after unexpected over-fills. The unit is also durable and weatherproof, making it suitable to stand up to the rigours of outdoor filming… Although we have heard rumours of it requesting an umbrella between shots and a personal dressing room at the end of each day. At least its perfect powder-coated finish means that it never needs to retouch its makeup, no matter how emotional the scene.

Of course, we knew Corrie’s latest star when it was fresh off the assembly line. And it’s really exciting to see one of our own putting on such a stellar performance. But not half as exciting as seeing the refill movement getting into full swing. Next step Pinewood, Hollywood, Bollywood, the World!

Comments | Posted in Bottle Filler MIW News By Mike Winter

MIW London Drinking Fountain Fund Update

Wednesday, 22 May 2019 10:37:20 Europe/London

MIW – London Drinking Fountain Fund Update

155,000 Plastic Bottles

For a good percentage of the last twelve months the posts on this blog have been dedicated to one subject: MIW’s work with the London Drinking Fountain Fund. In a collaboration with the London Mayor’s Office and #OneLess campaign, MIW donated 20 bottle filling stations for installation around London. It was a really exciting project to be involved with. Not least, because it felt like we were doing something that could make a real difference. That difference being to reduce waste plastic throughout the city by encouraging a refill culture.

Of course, when you embark on something like this, the big concern is whether you’ll receive the results you were aiming for. Would anyone use the bottle fillers? Would people even realise that they were there?

Well, the results are in. And they are very, very pleasing.

London Drinking Fountain Fund Facts and Figures

In the twelve months since installation, MIW’s London Drinking Fountain Fund bottle fillers have saved a staggering…

Drumroll, please…

155,000 plastic bottles

Prior to installation, every one of the bottle fillers was fitted with a tracker to monitor usage. The hope was that the data collected would be enough to show other organisations and businesses the potential environmental value of installing further units. While we were hopeful that the growing public awareness of the problems waste plastic is causing the environment would lead to the embracing of the bottle fillers, we never could have predicted just how well the units would be used.

During the twelve months since the project began an enormous 77,000 litres of water has been dispensed. Let’s say that again:

77,000 litres of water

And demand just keeps on growing.  

In fact, demand has been so great for the fountains that the two bottle fillers installed in Liverpool Street station dispensed nearly 30,000 litres of water alone. That’s the equivalent to 60,000 plastic drinks bottles worth… Sorry W.H. Smith!

And all of this has come from just 20 bottle filling stations in the course of a year. And, in fact, some of them haven’t even been in a full year yet. Imagine what we could all achieve if there were more bottle fillers available. If they were easy and free to access. And if we all started using them.

There’s More to Come…

The good news is that the GLA/London Mayor’s Office has just embarked on a similar project with Thames Water. This time, they’ve asked MIW to install 100 drinking fountains across London. It’s a massive project and will take some planning, but it’s such a positive step. And now that we’ve seen how well the #OneLess bottle fillers have been received, we’re even more galvanised to get on with the work. [EH1] 

So, let’s hear it for the bottle fillers, all of you conscientious refillers, and every company out there doing their bit to cut waste plastic. 155,000 plastic bottles saved? Hip-hip-hooray!

 [EH1]I’m not sure if you’re publicising this yet. So let me know if you need the last bit editing.

Comments | Posted in Bottle Filler MIW News By Mike Winter

MIW Takes Its Place at the UK’s Fourth Largest Visitor Attraction – The Natural History Museum

MIW has been in business for 30 years now. And despite the fact that some of the team have been with us from the very beginning, we hope that no one would call us ‘fossils’! So, just what can we be doing at the Natural History Museum? Installing a swanky new drinking fountain and bottle filler, of course!

 As one of the greatest tourist attractions the UK has to offer, the Natural History Museum (NHM) attracts more than five million visitors a year. In fact, 2018 was such a roaring success that visitors numbers increased by 17.2% up to 5,226,320, making the NHM the fourth most-visited attraction in the UK. And what does that mean? A mammoth-sized opportunity to help reduce waste plastic by bringing in bottle filling stations.

MIW, #OneLess, and The Natural History Museum

Refill For most of 2018, MIW was involved in a truly exciting project. Working with the #OneLess campaign and the London Mayor’s Office, we set about installing 24 free-to-use bottle refill stations across the capital. The equipment and the labour were donated by MIW. And the aim was to show the difference we could all make to the environment by ditching (responsibly) single-use plastic bottles in favour of refillable receptacles. But in order to make that possible, the facilities needed to be provided. The London Drinking Fountain Fund was devised and we all set to work[1].

We selected 20 diverse locations for the installation of the bottle fillers. We wanted to find as varied a range of places as possible, while catering for the greatest number of users. With such a high number of visitors, and such a strong ethos of sustainability, the NHM was an obvious candidate. And that’s why a MIW bottle filling station can now be found in the NHM’s Red Zone next to the Exhibition Entrance. It might not be as exciting as the dinosaur room, but it will certainly be a welcome sight if your mouth feels as dry as the bones on display!

Why the Move Towards Reducing Plastic?

The NHM recently posted a frightening headline: The world is in trouble: one million animals and plants face extinction. And that’s why reducing waste plastic matters. While, of course, not all of these potential extinctions are linked to waste plastic, a number will be. At the moment, around 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean from land every year. And it’s having a catastrophic affect on our ecosystem. Marine creatures are dying. Whether through plastic poisoning, choking on it, or becoming entangled in the stuff. It’s a nightmare in the making. And we can all help to make it stop. It’s time to wake up. And where better than the NHM to spread that message?

So, next time you’re visiting the UK’s fourth hottest attraction, don’t forget to call by the red zone and do your bit to make the world better.

[1] The work of the London Drinking Fountain Fund has proved such a success that MIW is now working with the London Mayor’s Office and Thames Water to bring even more drinking facilities to the residents and visitors of London. Watch this space for news of drinking fountains coming near you.

Comments | Posted in MIW News By Mike Winter

Howzat! Lancashire Cricket Open the Season with Nine New Bottle Fillers

Ah, the sound of leather on willow! Cricket may now be an international game, but you really don’t get much more English than that! This summer though, along with that friendly thonk of the ball and the polite roar of the crowd, there will be another sound at Lancashire Cricket’s grounds in Old Trafford: the sound of bottles being filled with water.

Joining the movement to reduce waste plastic, earlier this year Lancashire Cricket approached MIW with a proposal. They were looking for ways to bring free drinking water to their spectators. If we could provide impartial advice, equipment, support and installation ahead of the ICC World Cup, the job was ours. Needless to say, we were soon on our way to Old Trafford!

Lancashire Cricket’s Bottle Fillers

As you might expect from a club and a ground as prestigious as Lancashire’s, this was a job with a pretty detailed set of MIW Outdoor Water Refill Station requirements. Firstly, they needed us to assess the site to work out how many bottle fillers would be needed, where they’d best be situated, and which units would most suit their requirements. And that was really the most difficult part of the job. From then on, it was down to business.

Lancashire Cricket selected nine bottle fillers in total. Seven Halsey Taylor 4405BF outdoor bottle fillers and two chilled Eco-Dispensers for internal use. These units were selected for their performance, durability and ease of use. They all needed to be WRAS-approved (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) – so to have achieved the highest safety ranking – and the outdoor fillers also needed to be weather resistant, vandal proof, and capable of catering for extremely high numbers. Old Trafford has a capacity of 26,000. And on ICC test days, every one of those seats will be taken. It’s no coincidence that the AELTC (All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club) selected the same units for installation at Wimbledon in summer 2017.

Once the bottle fillers had been decided upon, all MIW had to do was arrange branding, calendar installation of all nine units and prepare a maintenance schedule. Experts that we are, that posed no problem at all!

Job Done

Within a few weeks, MIW had arranged for all nine bottle fillers to be hand painted Lancashire blue and branded with the club’s livery. Installation took place in April well ahead of the deadline of the first ICC match.

As Lancashire Cricket opted to rent their bottle fillers from MIW, they’re benefitting from the ongoing sanitisation and servicing of the equipment. This means that MIW will making regular visits to Old Trafford to clean, check and maintain each of the bottle fillers, ensuring that they’re ready for action every test day – and every day in between.

So, if cricket is on the agenda for you this summer, and you happen to find yourself visiting Old Trafford, don’t forget to bring a bottle. A reusable drinks bottle. And save yourself a few pennies on refreshments when those stumps start to fall.

Comments | Posted in Bottle Filler MIW News By Mike Winter

Green by Name and Nature: Camberwell Green Receives New Drinking Fountain

Another day, another London Drinking Fountain Fund installation for MIW! In the last few months, work has really ramped up on the #OneLess/London Mayor/MIW project to install 20 free drinking fountain/bottle filling stations across London. After much planning and very careful site selection, we’ve reached the exciting part: the bottle fillers are going in! And the latest of a clutch of installations took place in Camberwell Green.

The site was chosen back at the end of August 2018. The drinking fountain – a rather swanky Halsey Taylor 4400BF designed by Elkay – is one small, but very important, part of a £13m regeneration project for the area. Camberwell is a very popular part of the commuter belt, with a thriving social scene, but certain areas have been in want of a little TLC in recent years, the Green being one of them. It provides a tranquil breath of fresh air in an otherwise built-up space, which makes it very important.

Why Install Bottle Fillers?

Popular with families, joggers and other exercise enthusiasts, as well as providing a relaxing summer lunch spot for local workers, Camberwell Green has been part of the parish since the 19th century. And yet it’s had few facilities. The hope behind the installation of Camberwell Green’s new sports bottle filling station and drinking fountain is multifaceted.

Firstly, the aim of both the #OneLess campaign and the London Mayor’s drinking fountain project is the reduction of single-use plastic bottles. With around 8 million tonnes of plastic entering the ocean from land every year and 10% of Thames shoreline litter collected being plastic drink bottles and lids, something urgent needed to be done. This litter isn’t just polluting our waterways, but killing our diverse marine life – the world over. So, that’s priority number one. And installing bottle fillers should help reduce the purchasing of more bottled water, and thus the resultant litter.

Secondly, the drinking fountains will provide a wonderful new service for the people of Camberwell, and everyone who uses the Green. As everyone knows, drinking water is far better for you than drinking sugar-filled fizzy drinks. Hopefully, having free water on hand will be more appealing to the local children than spending their pennies in the local shops.

Thirdly, no one likes seeing litter in a public park. If people are re-using their drinks bottles, they’re far less likely to leave them behind. This will not only make Camberwell Green a nicer place to be, but will help reduce council litter-picking fees.

The Camberwell Green Sports Bottle Billing Station and Drinking Fountain was installed in early 2019. It’s already been met by enthusiasm by the local people. But what’s going to be really interesting for me, is to gather the data and see just how people use it in the coming months. And how many plastic bottles are prevented from being purchased by the existence of Camberwell Green’s new service.

Comments | Posted in Bottle Filler MIW News By Mike Winter

With You at the Beginning and the End – Scottish Water and MIW Bring Bottle Fillers to the West Highland Way

Despite being 96 miles long, so not for the faint-hearted, the West Highland Way is the most walked long-distance route in Scotland. Running from Milngavie to Fort William it takes in some of the most spectacular scenery the country has to offer. But although it’s an area known for its high rainfall, there’s one thing that walkers of the West Highland Way just can’t get enough of: water. That’s why Sottish Water chose the start and finishing points of the route to install two of its Top Up from the Tap water bottle filling stations – with a little help from MIW.

Your Water Your Life

MIW began working with Scottish Water on the Your Water Your Life Top Up from the Tap campaign in the middle of 2018. The aim was to find locations where access to a bottle filling station would bring the most benefit. Both in terms of helping people to stay hydrated for free, and preventing environmental damage by reducing the number of single-use plastic drinks bottles purchased and discarded.

Since that time, MIW has installed 34 drinking water fountains/bottle refill stations for Scottish Water. Locations range from the Scottish Water new outdoor refill station by MIW Parliament Building in Edinburgh to the Shetland Islands, and, of course, the Outer Hebrides. Being situated in some pretty extreme locations – the Outer Hebrides aren’t known for their clement weather! – the bottle fillers will have to cope with a lot. It’s lucky, then that the Halsey Taylor units supplied by our global partners, Elkay, were designed for exactly that. Originally created for an American audience, these bottle fillers can withstand anything the Scottish weather can throw at it: rain, snow, sun, ice and frost. They’re vandal resistant too, so risk of accidental (other otherwise) damage is slim to none. Finally, each one has also been specially adapted to display the Scottish Water branding and livery, and had a tracker added to them, so usage can be monitored.

Why does usage need to be monitored? Because if demand is high enough, it builds a solid case for more bottle filling stations to be installed. And that could be good news for your pocket as well as the environment.

The West Highland Way Bottle Fillers

It’s the environment that has been one of the biggest drivers for Scottish Water when embarking on this project. Almost everyone has now seen footage of plastic waste littering our oceans. It’s not only disgusting, but distressing, seeing how our actions have detrimentally affected so many creatures. But the thing is, although the ocean is the ultimate end for a huge percentage of plastic waste, it can be seen everywhere. And that includes the breath-taking vistas of the West Highland Way. And if walkers are given the chance to refill rather than replace, there is hope that the only thing they’ll leave behind them is footprints.

Adventurer Cameron McNeish, who officially launched the two new high-tech water Top up Taps in Milngavie and Fort William, explained the problem: “People walking routes of any length need to stay hydrated and it’s vital that they ensure they have plenty of water to enable their bodies to cope with the demands of walks like the West Highland Way. It’s also important that walkers do all they can to ensure they use refillable bottles to help reduce plastic waste and protect the environment.

“Top up Taps at either end of the route mean walkers […] don’t have to carry plastic bottles, reducing the risk of litter.”

And that’s something that we can raise a reusable sports bottle to!

Comments | Posted in Bottle Filler MIW News By Mike Winter

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