HUNDREDS of businesses in Havant could benefit by joining a free water bottle refill scheme.
That’s the message from campaigners who are throwing their weight behind the smartphone application Refill in the fight against single-use plastics.
Available on app stores for Apple and Android devices, the free software displays a map of locations where users can fill up their bottle at no cost, instead of buying a new drink and creating more waste.
Businesses of any size can put their names on that map by signing up – which is also free – reaping benefits in what campaigners say is a win-win situation.
‘We are much concerned with reducing plastic at the source and what happens before it ends up on our beaches and in our streets,’ said Ray Cobbett, chairman of Havant Friends of the Earth.
‘Taking on this scheme would help reduce the number of plastic bottles being wasted in our area by thousands every year.
‘And if a person goes into a shop because they know it is part of this scheme, they may just make a purchase – and that is the sign of a win-win relationship.’
In its latest meeting, the Emsworth Residents Association (Era) was visited by councillor Edward Crouch, from Worthing in East Sussex, where more than 40 businesses are signed up to Refill.
This success, said Mr Cobbett and others, could be easily be replicated across Havant – where there are just nine signed up – compared to Portsmouth’s 83 and 34 in Fareham and Gosport.
Emsworth Business Association chairman Giles Babb said: ‘We’ve got 11 businesses taking part in the Refill scheme in Emsworth so far and the reception has been great.
‘But I would be very keen to see more in the Havant borough get involved and more in the area in general – this is good for business and the environment.’
The calls from Ray and Giles have been echoed by Bianca Carr of green initiative Final Straw Solent, the campaign group backed by The News, who is working hard to grow a network of Refill stations in the area.
‘Anything can become reusable if you use it again,’ she said.
‘The effect of this scheme could be amazing even if just a couple of businesses take it on.
‘We need Havant businesses to sign up – as well as businesses in the wider Solent area – and we are really, really supporting this.’
Six businesses in the Waterlooville area are signed up to Refill, alongside two in Bedhampton – but just one is signed up on Hayling Island.
Firms which join the scheme will receive a sticker to place in their window, indicating they are signed up.
If you run a business looking to sign up to Refill, visit refill.org.uk/add-refill-station
Get in touch
If you’re a business in the Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham or Gosport area and you have signed up to Refill, we want to hear from you.
Email your name, the name and address of your business and your reason for signing up to firstname.lastname@example.org