Refill movement expands to coffee and hot food

Plastic pollution campaign group City to Sea has announced that the Refill movement, which encourages people to use a refillable water bottle, is launching a new pilot with retailers including Costa Coffee, Morrisons and LEON that will show consumers where they can refill their coffee cups and lunch boxes.

An image of a reusable coffee cup

As part of City to Sea’s Refill movement, the three-month pilot will connect consumers with businesses that offer refillable options. The pilot will be taking place in Oxford and Bristol, where LEON, Pret, Neal’s Yard, Morrisons, Waitrose, Asda, Costa and 70 independent businesses have signed up to participate.

The expanded Refill campaign will allow consumers to use the Refill app to find out where they can fill up not just their water bottle, but also their coffee cup, lunch box, groceries, cleaning products and toiletries. The app will also provide information on where consumers can get discounts for bringing their own container.

From 18 November, food-to-go chain LEON will become the first retailer to offer hot food through the Refill campaign.

Rebecca Burgess, CEO of City to Sea, applauded LEON’s commitment to reducing single-use plastic: “It’s fantastic to see LEON blazing a trail in the sector and letting its customers try out bringing their own containers for selected food items, as well as hot drinks and water.

“We hope that their example will show other food-to-go chains that it’s infinitely possible to achieve this whilst ensuring food safety and customer satisfaction.”

Rebecca Di Mambro, Head of Marketing for LEON, said: “Sustainability will be the defining issue of our time, and it’s our mission to be the first generation to leave the planet in a better state than we found it. That’s why we’re so excited to be partnering with City to Sea on their refillable pilot at LEON Oxford.

“We know our guests want the opportunity to make more sustainable choices – we’ve seen a 300 per cent uptake since we launched our reusable coffee cup discount over 18 months ago – and trialling refillable containers is the next step in reducing the amount of single-use materials across LEON.”

A growing movement

The pilot comes as the next step in the Refill movement’s mission to cut our reliance on single-use plastic.

Founded in Bristol by environmental campaigner Natalie Fee in 2015, the Refill movement is going from strength to strength, connecting over 250,000 app users with over 30,000 businesses and retailers across the UK where they can fill up their reusable water bottle for free.

Read more: From city to sea change – an interview with Natalie Fee

City to Sea has estimated that Refill will have saved over 100 million single-use bottles from entering the waste stream by the end of 2019.

With projects established in towns and cities across the UK, such as Bristol, Bath, Cardiff and London, the Refill movement is now setting its sights further afield – schemes have already been launched in Japan, Chile and Italy, and plans have been made to roll out Refill projects across the rest of Europe in 2020.

The Welsh Government even committed to turning Wales into the first ’Refill Nation’ by making tap water more easily available across the whole of Wales, including free public access in key communities along the 870-mile Wales Coast Path

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

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