The UK goes through around 7.7bn plastic water bottles a year, and despite the millions spent by companies trying to convince us otherwise, there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that bottled water from brands such as Evian has an improved effect on your health when compared to tap water (not even Del Boy’s own Peckham Spring Water can offer any additional benefits!).

These days, with water filters available in offices and more and more water fountains ‘springing’ up around town centres, we can refill a bottle of water with little time and effort.  Sadly, the same can’t be said about resetting our ecosystems. National Refill Day on the 19th of June this year coincided with the ‘War on Plastic’, as termed by a 3-part BBC series which looks at the plastic waste problem in the UK from several angles.

Broadly speaking, consumers have been motivated to act on plastic waste after the ‘Blue Planet effect’, which demonstrated the extent and impact that plastics have on our environment. This time round, though, activists want us to target UK corporations and the Government in an attempt to implement more significant plastic reduction and re-use measures. Consumers need to understand ‘recyclability’, i.e. how much companies are actually recycling their products.

workplace-wine-44Speaking as someone who’s just finished their undergraduate degree, I can confidently say that for most young adults and students, the chance to refill an alcoholic beverage at a discounted price is taken before you can say the word ‘Wetherspoons’. So why don’t we refill our water bottles more often for free?

One reason could be supermarket ‘meal deals’. These combo deals encourage consumers to buy a bottled drink as part of their 3-way feast. This means buying your day-old sandwich, alongside a bag of crisps that is more air than potato, all coupled with a small PLASTIC bottle of innocent smoothie (available in selected colours of healthiness) in order to achieve a discount on all 3 items. Effectively, what this means is that it’s more expensive if you didn’t buy a drink as part of your meal. It seems profits matter more than plastic use for companies.

So, if like me you enjoy the occasional stroll along the beach and would rather not see “159 plastic bottles for every mile of beach in the UK”, then start refilling one of those re-usable water bottles stored at the back of the cupboard. It’s now or never.

Posted by Sam Buttress

Topics: financial wellbeing

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