Itsu and Cook join water bottle refill scheme

Sushi chain Itsu and gourmet food retailer Cook have become the latest firms to join City to Sea's Refill campaign, aimed at reducing the public's reliance on single-use plastic water bottles.

The two chains have collectively added 128 stations to the Refill map

The two chains have collectively added 128 stations to the Refill map

By joining the initiative, the two companies have committed to offering free tap water refills to all customers who bring a reusable bottle – regardless of whether they are making a purchase.

Both Cook and Itsu have committed to offering the service at all of their UK locations, with the former having 55 stores and the latter having 73 food-to-go outlets.

In order to encourage customers to ask for refills, the businesses will display a round, blue “Refill” sticker on their store windows.

They have also agreed to have their locations added to City to Sea’s interactive app, which uses digital mapping to tell users where their nearest Refill point is in real-time.

The interactive map currently lists more than 20,000 Refill points across the UK, with dozens of businesses having joined the campaign since its launch in 2017. City to Sea is now aiming to have Refill locations in every town and city by 2021.

Refill revolution

Refill was founded after City to Sea’s own research in 2016 found that the average UK adult uses 150 single-use water bottles annually.

Most of these bottle purchases, the organisation concluded, were made when people were travelling or shopping.

To that end, the campaign began with a string of independent retailers, and City to Sea’s work over the past two years has widely been focused on garnering support from transport hubs and big-name retailers. Current supporters, therefore, include the likes of food-to-go giants Greggs, Pret-A-Manger, Starbucks, Leon and Costa, as well as Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.

To mark Refill Day on 19 June, Network Rail revealed that its station-based network of 19 drinking water fountains is being used more than 100,000 times every month. The fountains are based at some of the operator’s busiest stations, including Bristol Temple Meads, Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly and London King’s Cross.

But, according to City to Sea’s head of campaigns and marketing Jo Morley, there is still much more to be done to drive behaviour change at transport hubs.

“We’ve made good headway in tackling the high street and I think you’ll see the Refill sticker now in most places, but we know from our own research that one of the biggest barriers to people refilling is a lack of facilities when they’re travelling,” Morley recently told edie.

Early signs of Refill’s progress in the transport space are now beginning to emerge. Earlier this summer, Manchester Airport signed all of its bars, restaurants and café’s up to Refill.

Sarah George



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