If you ever drew a castle as a child, the chances are that it looked like Harlech. Perched high upon a rocky outcrop, it’s everything a medieval castle is meant to be. With crenelated round towers, impregnable battlements… And now, a fancy new water bottle filling station by the visitor centre!
Cadw – the Welsh Government’s historic environment service – has recently undertaken to cut waste plastic on all its sites throughout Wales. As part of that project, MIW was called in to provide alternative drinking solutions, in the form of drinking fountains and bottle fillers. The hope is that rather than ditching shop-bought plastic bottles on site, visitors will refill them. Thus, cutting litter in the immediate vicinity, and helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste gathered in the country as a whole.
Why is Cadw working to cut plastic waste?
Cadw’s movement is part of an overall Welsh government initiative to become the first plastic-free nation. Horrified by the recent footage of islands of plastic waste floating in the oceans around the world, the government reached the conclusion that it was down to all of us to reverse the problem. Rather than simply setting out to clean up their local patch, the National Assembly for Wales has decided that prevention is better than cure. If less disposable plastic is used, there will be less of it going to waste around the world, but if the public are to be encouraged to use less plastic, they need to be offered an alternative. Free-to-use public drinking fountains and bottle fillers are that alternative.
Cadw’s drinking fountains
So far, MIW has worked on 10 sites protected by Cadw, installing high quality, low-maintenance bottle filling stations and drinking fountains. A specific model has been selected for each individual site, making sure that it’s as accessible and durable as possible.
The Halsey Taylor 4405BF – Endura II Tubular Outdoor Bottle Filling Station that went into Harlech Castle’s visitor centre, for example, has been designed to withstand the elements, being in an outdoor area. It’s also vandal-proof, hygienic and wheelchair accessible. The unit is filtered to ensure the best user experience, and WRAS-approved, to guarantee long-term quality.
Waste plastic is a growing problem the world-over. We all need to do our bit to stop it, before the situation becomes irreversible. If ever there was a place where you might be inspired to avoid littering and reuse your plastic bottles, Harlech Castle surely has to be it.
Take only pictures. Leave only memories. That is such a great philosophy to live by.