The department store will stop more than 400,000 plastic water bottle being sold in its food halls and restaurants each year. Customers will now have to refill reusable bottles at in-store drinking fountains.

The move comes as part of Project Ocean – a collaboration between Selfridges and the Zoological Society of London. The partners’ new initiative – ‘Be part of the sea change: see through the plastics problem’ – hopes to raise awareness of the problem of ocean plastics and change consumer behaviour.

Project Ocean

Selfridges Group deputy chairman Alannah Weston said: “With our latest initiative we aim to drive awareness of the serious threat plastic poses to our oceans; in particular single use plastic water bottles.

“We will be encouraging people to think twice about their use of plastic water bottles, which ultimately end up as waste destroying our precious oceans.”

The UK is thought to use up to 15 million plastic bottles per day, and more than five trillion pieces of plastic are thought to be circulating in the world’s oceans.

ZSL head of global conservation Heather Koldewey said: “Plastic has become a globally important material we depend on. However, in just a few decades we have developed a disposable society where plastic is often used for just seconds or minutes before being thrown away.”

Disposable society

Koldewey added plastic was reaching all parts of the ocean, devastating food chains. “As part of Project Ocean our first step is to reduce consumption of single-use plastic bottles. A drink we might enjoy for five minutes could impact on marine wildlife for generations.

“By transforming consumer behaviour and raising awareness of this issue, in collaboration with conservation organisations and business, we’re starting a sea change that can help prevent further damage to the marine environment.”

Recent studies have found around eight million tonnes of plastic waste enters the world’s oceans each year and is currently increasing year on year.

As edie reported last month, a number of high street brands have also begun to tackle the problem of ocean waste, with a pledge to phase harmful microbeads from their products. Many personal care and beauty products use microbeads which are too small to filter in wastewater treatment plants. However, Unilever and Proctor & Gamble, who run some of the world’s biggest beauty brands, have committed to phasing out the plastics.

Matt Field

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