New Norwich scheme for people to fill up their empty water bottle for free
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A new city scheme to allow people to refill their water bottles for free has launched, with more than 30 cafes, pubs and businesses already signed up.
Anglian Water and City to Sea have teamed up to bring Refill to Norwich, which allows people to fill reusable bottles at cafes, pubs, hairdresser's and other businesses.
The Refill smartphone app uses GPS and maps to show where the closest refill points are to the user's location. And for people who do not have a smartphone, there will be promotional stickers in shop and cafe windows to show where they can go for a free tap water refill.
The scheme was initially set up to reduce plastic waste and while there is no obligation to buy anything in the cafes, Refill Norwich coordinator Matthew White hopes it will help local business by encouraging people to visit independent venues.
Rebecca Savage runs The Café Club, in King Street, and says Refill will be a great addition to its existing sustainable measures, including compostable coffee cup lids.
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She said Refill has arrived in Norwich at a crucial time for sustainability, with many businesses already making changes to help the environment, but more needs to be done.
That was echoed by Jo Henderson, Green Party councillor for Thorpe Hamlet ward, who has seen the extent of plastic waste on her litter-picks around the city.
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She said: 'Plastic bottles create a huge amount of litter in Norwich, and I hope this initiative will reduce litter on our streets.'
Reagan Harris from Anglian Water said: 'The average household bill for water is just £1.15 a day for everything – that's comparable to the price of a single bottle of shop-bought water.
'So not only is Refill great for the environment – it's good for our pockets too.'
The Refill app is now available on iOS and Android.
Anyone can add new Refill locations to the app, and users get in-app points every time they fill up their bottle.