PLASTIC Free Swindon highlighted World Refill Day which raises awareness of reusing bottles and reduce plastic use.

Since its launch in 2015, Refill is estimated to have saved hundreds of millions of single-use bottles from being produced and polluting the environment. It has extended beyond water bottles to include food and other shopping.

Plastic Free Swindon member Ben Bell said: "Sadly we are still waiting for strong legislation to reduce plastic production and many businesses are shirking responsibility for plastic use.

"Our work to further reuse has been hampered by public misconceptions, fed by disinformation from the oil industry and others. So let’s set the record straight. The idea that plastic is somehow clean and safe is false. In response to Covid-19, our use of plastic packaging has increased.

"It is vital to understand that plastic pollutes throughout its existence, not just when it’s disposed. It harbours pathogens, attracts pollutants, and furthers disease and suffering for humans and animals.

"In tests to measure the duration that materials harbour viruses, plastic came out the worst at up to three days! Inhaled plastic fibres can damage the ability of lungs to regenerate.

"It isn’t digestible and doesn’t harmonise with nature. When we litter pick, the smell of stale water caught up in plastic packaging is often disgusting.

"Genetic mutations, cancers, hormone disruption, developmental disorders, reproductive disorders… Plastic and disease go hand in hand.

"Our use of single-use plastic PPE has been obscene. Globally we have been using 129 billion single-use plastic masks and 65 billion single-use plastic gloves per month. This is clearly not healthy or sustainable. We are attempting to deal with one crisis by furthering another.

"We need to take responsibility for our plastic usage and make simple, healthy choices for the good of all. Use a reusable bottle, coffee cup and food containers, buy from a zero waste shop, carry a reusable bag, use reusable masks.

"Download the Refill app, use the stations list on our website or look out for the blue Refill stickers. Be the change, Swindon. We urgently need that if we are to avoid further crises and suffering."