Local businesses in Swindon joined forces to promote an environmentally friendly scheme aimed at reducing single-use plastic.

Weight it up, Lush, Ten Green Bottles and Purton House Organics were among the businesses who signed up to mark World Refill Day on Sunday, June 16, encouraging people to refill and reuse their own water bottles. 

The campaign was launched in 2021 by the charity City to Sea, which was established with the mission to protect our oceans from plastic pollution, and has attracted support from celebrities like Deborah Meaden, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Rob Rinder.

Celebrities posed with reusable water bottles to show their supportCelebrities posed with reusable water bottles to show their support (Image: Caroline Lott)

Plastic Free Swindon co-ordinator Ben Bell said: “Most people are aware that litter pollutes the environment. It also negatively impacts mental health. According to Broken Window Theory and subsequent studies, levels of litter even correlate to levels of crime and other anti-social behaviour. So how we treat our local environment is so important and we all have a responsibility to do that.

“The main focus of World Refill Day, with the General Election looming, was on securing legislation to reduce plastic production. Another focus was showing appreciation for our local environment.

“We amalgamated two areas of focus to set up a litter pick through Keep Swindon Tidy at Rivermead. This included a plastic audit to show the littered single-use items that wouldn’t have been there had we refilled and reused instead. We collected 97 plastic bottles, 61 coffee cups, 57 cans and 20 glass bottles in two hours.

“We ask all Swindonians to support the Refill scheme. Individually we can find places to refill by using the Refill phone app, by using the web app on the Plastic Free Swindon website and by looking out for Refill stickers and posters”, Ben added.

“Refill Swindon is one of around 430 Refill schemes around the UK. There are around 80 local Refill stations who are leading the way towards sustainability. Working together and taking responsibility we can achieve so much. Let’s all step up for reuse and towards a happy, healthier town and planet.”

Jane Martin, CEO at City to Sea said: “Research shows that people want to reduce single-use packaging, but they can’t access reusable alternatives where they shop.

"Now we need governments to legislate mandatory standards for reuse to support industry to scale-up and meet growing demand to make plastic pollution a thing of the past.”