Water Bottle Filling Stations: Help Fight the Plastic Crisis
How To Help the Environment with Bottle-Filling Stations
The impact of plastic waste on the environment is well-documented, and widely known. Yet, despite ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the issue and encourage responsible usage and disposal of plastic, an estimated 5 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated each year in the UK alone. This means that on average, UK families throw out approximately 40 kg of plastic each year which could have been recycled.
As plastic use continues to grow throughout Western Europe, at a rate of around 4 percent per year, it has become more important than ever for businesses and organisations to embrace socially and environmentally responsible practices with regards to plastic.
Water bottle filling stations can reduce waste
It can take as long as 500 years for plastic to decompose, so every time it is thrown out instead of recycled, it impacts the natural environment. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has even predicted that, if plastic leakage continues at its current rate, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight).
The comprehensive report revealed that 95 percent of the value of plastic packaging is lost, due to the prevalence of disposable, single-use items. This costs the global economy somewhere between $80 and $120 billion each year. In addition, the UN Environment Programme predicts that by 2050, the plastics industry will consume 15 percent of the annual carbon budget, and 20 percent of global oil production.
Turning the Tide
To combat this persistent threat to our environment, numerous organisations are working together to provide alternatives to single-use plastics, and to revise existing practices to create a “sustainable system for plastics”. This collaborative initiative is known as the UK Plastics Pact, headed by WRAP, with the backing of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
According to a 2018 report, the UK’s recycling rate has been steadily increasing in recent years. However, there is still a long way to go, and both individuals and organisations need to do their bit to reduce waste and encourage environmentally-conscious use of plastics and alternatives.
The Environmental Benefits of Bottle-Filling Stations
Bottle-filling units, also dubbed “hydration stations” have become a critical part of the endeavour to reduce our plastic footprint.
The vast majority of plastic bottles end up in landfill, where it can take hundreds of years for them to break down. However, by providing a means for people to reuse those bottles, you help them save money, stay hydrated, and protect the environment, all at once.
Designated bottle-filling stations also provide safer, higher quality drinking water, as they are designed to filter out contaminants. This has the added benefit of making the water taste better, which means users are likely to drink more than they otherwise might.
These units come in a range of designs, making them suitable for a variety of settings and individual needs. This includes wall-mounted and floor-standing stations, shrouded and recessed units which can be set into wall cavities, making them perfect for more confined spaces.
For venues where there is high demand, stations with multiple filling points are also available. In institutions such as schools and gyms, a combination drinking fountain and bottle-filler is a popular choice, as it provides more flexibility for users, without taking up too much space.
In addition to encouraging the reuse of plastic bottles, filling stations also promote a more proactive approach to hydration, which is essential for the health and well-being of people of all ages. Our bodies are more than 60 percent water, and it is recommended that the average person should drink around 2 litres, or 8 glasses of water every day.
This helps you keep energy levels up, maintain a stable body weight, and reduces the risk of certain health complaints, such as kidney stones.
Doing Your Bit
Installing a bottle filling station is a brilliant way to begin doing your bit in the fight to reduce plastic waste. There are even grants available from schemes such as the Tap Water Awards and The Drinking Fountain Association if the station is to be installed in a school or university.
For details of other ways to reduce plastic waste in your community, or to let others know about your efforts, Plastic Free UK is a great place to start, compiling numerous resources and details of environmental initiatives throughout the UK.
Meanwhile, you can put your business on the map by designating it as a Refill Station. The Refill campaign began in Bristol, as a means of encouraging businesses to allow visitors to stop in and fill up their water bottles. There are now more than 7,800 Refill points in the UK, and the scheme has begun to spread throughout Europe. Just remind users that it is important to remember to wash their water bottles regularly if they plan to reuse them.
If you’d like further advice on bottle-filling stations and drinking fountains, please get in touch with our friendly team today. We can answer your questions and help you do your bit to fight plastic waste.
Once you’ve ordered your modern hydration station, we recommend you read our drinking fountain and bottle filler installation guide.