Drinking fountains installed in Bury as part of Refill pilot

Two new public drinking fountains have been installed in Bury, Greater Manchester, in a bid to reduce plastic pollution and encourage the uptake of free drinking water.

The move is the result of a partnership between environmental consultancy Eunomia, the Refill movement, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), United Utilities and Bury Council, aiming to support greater investment in water fountains across the city, as well as in the Refill movement across the UK and beyond.

The Refill movement, set up by Bristol campaign group City to Sea, seeks to tackle plastic pollution with a network of free-to-use water points, reducing the need for single-use plastic bottles. Its mission is to prevent the 7.7 billion plastic drinking bottles that end up being thrown away every year in the UK from entering the environment.

Drinking fountains installed in Bury as part of Refill pilotRefill has been rapidly gaining momentum, with Refill projects being set up in towns and cities across the UK such as Bristol, Bath, Banbury, Cardiff and London.

At the unveiling of the new fountains in Bury on Friday (22 March), Eunomia called for greater investment in free public drinking water facilities in order to prevent plastic pollution caused by single-use plastic bottles. The financial support provided by Eunomia for the two fountains in Bury comes from the consultancy’s carbon fund – money set aside to offset the carbon emissions the company produces though its daily operations.

Mark Hilton, Head of Eunomia’s Manchester office, said: “We have used our carbon fund to sponsor the two newest additions to Manchester’s network of Refill Stations, and we sincerely hope that, as the number of community water fountains increases, it will become easier for the public to choose a reusable option rather than contributing to plastic pollution with single use plastic.

“The water fountain we installed by our head office in Bristol’s Queen Square has been heavily used in the two years since its opening. We are proud to be helping GMCA towards their goal of a plastic-free Manchester and we hope to see the new fountains having the same impact in Manchester as we have seen in Bristol.”

The two fountains to be installed in Bury will be the first in a growing network of free refilling stations across the North West from fountains to cafes, restaurants and other businesses across the region. These refilling points can located using the Refill app and identified by prominent window stickers in the participating businesses.

Councillor Alex Ganotis is GMCA Lead on the Green City Region plans launched in mid-2018 to make Manchester one of the greenest cities in the UK. He explained: “The launch of the Refill pilot in Bury is part of a growing range of initiatives across Greater Manchester to help reduce the amount of single-use plastics we use every day. Schemes like Refill are making a big difference, making it easier for people to use refillable bottles, cutting down the amount of plastic waste that ends up as litter and harms our environment.

“At this year’s Green Summit, we will be launching our five-year environment plan to set us on the path to carbon neutrality in 2038. A key priority is to eradicate avoidable single-use plastics in Greater Manchester, moving to more sustainable options, promoting re-use first. We look forward to a successful partnership and seeing further Refill Stations and fountains rolled out across our city-region.”

Sarah Irving, Refill Regional Coordinator, commented: “Refill encourages more people to take one small step away from relying on single use plastic bottles. It’s a really simple concept with a really big potential result and with access to outdoor bottle refilling stations as well as café taps, it has become far easier to Refill on the go.”

You can find out more about Refill on the campaign’s website.

Related Articles