100 public water fountains to be installed across London

100 drinking water fountains are set to be installed across busy areas of London in a bid to reduce single-use plastic waste, thanks to a new contract between MIW Water Cooler Experts, Thames Water and the Mayor of London.

The drinking water fountains feature Thames Water's droplet logo

The fountains will be made by drinking fountain manufacturer Elkay out of rust-proof, high-quality, marine-grade stainless steel, with built-in freeze protection to ensure that they are operational throughout the colder winter months.

Bottle refill station supplier MIW has pledged to service and maintain the water fountains for a minimum of 25 years as part of its contractual obligations.

This announcement comes as part of Thames Water’s commitment to reducing single-use plastic waste by promoting tap water over plastic bottles. With the average adult in London buying more than three plastic water bottles every week, totalling 7.7 billion plastic bottles bought across the UK each year, Thames Water’s #taptasticnotplastic campaign seeks to encourage the public to make the switch to reusable bottles.

Steve Spencer, Chief Operating Officer at Thames Water, said: “London’s tap water is world class and we’re celebrating this by building a network of water fountains so it’s even more accessible to people on the move.

“Tap water is incredible value for money and just as good as bottled water, but without the plastic packaging so we want people to enjoy it by using the fountains. Together we can all drive down plastic waste from single-use water bottles, helping to care for our rivers and oceans, now and for generations to come.”

Mike Winter, Managing Director of MIW Water Cooler Experts, added: “Thames Water supplies our capital with some of the best quality water in the world.

“Now busy Londoners on the move can quickly access free, great tasting water – these latest models of outdoor fountains will refill a 500ml bottle in under 7 seconds, and are specially designed to be durable and accessible making them ideal for high traffic public areas.”

Refill movement gains momentum

The push for public water fountains across the UK is gaining momentum, as London takes its next step in encouraging the public to ditch plastic bottles.

The 100 fountains set to be installed by MIW follow the 20 fountains rolled out across the capital last year as part of the Refill movement. The Refill movement, which was first set up by Bristol charity City to Sea in 2015, is spearheading the drive for public tap water, seeking to establish a network of refill points around the country in an aim to reduce the demand for plastic bottles.

The movement has grown from strength to strength, with more than 20,000 refill stations set up across almost 200 schemes throughout the UK.

London’s plastic pollution crisis comes as a major hurdle in the movement’s quest to eliminate the UK’s single-use plastic waste. After a 2017 report by the London Assembly Environment Committee found that plastic bottles make up 10 per cent of all litter found in the Thames, Mayor Sadiq Khan proposed a £750,000 three-year plan to address the plastic bottle issue.

The report outlined that community tap water stations, such as those provided by the Refill movement, are an ‘essential’ alternative to plastic bottled water.

You can find out more on the Refill movement’s website

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