Environmental organisation City To Sea has been awarded £49,999 from the Landfill Disposals Tax Community Scheme (LDTCS) to help cut plastic pollution in Cardiff. The funding, which will be administered by the WCVA over the next two years, will help to reduce single use plastic waste by growing the number of businesses offering refill and reuse options across the city.
The LDTCS funds projects within five miles of certain waste transfer stations or landfill sites. In Cardiff, it will fund the expansion of City To Sea’s Refill campaign, via their multi-award-winning app which connects people to places to eat, drink and shop with less plastic.
The app already connects conscious consumers with more than 1,800 businesses accepting reusables and providing free tap water refills in Wales – including museums, bars, galleries, and supermarkets; as well as smaller, family businesses, local cafes and restaurants.
But it’s hoped that the expanded campaign will increase the number of locations and types of businesses listed on the app in Cardiff, helping to make re-use and refill the new social norm. Customers will be encouraged to use the app to find out where to refill everything from their water bottle, coffee cup, and lunch box, to household cleaning products and toiletries.
Hannah Osman, Refill Wales Manager at City to Sea said,
“We are thrilled to have been awarded this LDTCS Grant and will be working closely with communities and businesses in the Cardiff region to tackle the mountain of avoidable single-use plastic created every day. The long-term ambition is that the expanded Refill campaign will result in the Cardiff region being weaned off its reliance on single use plastic. Consumer demand will drive sustainable innovation in the sector, impacting behaviour change within businesses and reducing the amount of plastic waste flowing into our rivers and oceans.”
Welsh Businesses Get Behind Refill and Reuse
As a result of public health concerns during the pandemic, many cafes and retailers in Cardiff temporarily stopped accepting reusables and increased their use of single-use plastic. This is despite experts stating that reusables are perfectly safe to use, and only 5% of customers feeling that single-use items are safer than reusables.
So ahead of the first ever World Refill Day next month (16th June) City to Sea is encouraging a new wave of signups to the Refill app. They are welcoming businesses who already allow customers to bring their own containers or offer packaging- free options, or those who are looking to trial a refill service for the first time. Businesses are invited to use the app as a free marketing platform to drive footfall and increase sales.
New to the app this year is Kemi’s Café in Pontcanna. Patrick Nevins, who runs the popular independent café with his mum, Kemi, said;
“As a business, we are happy to help our customers reduce their reliance on single use packaging. We now offer free tap water refills and also allow customers to bring their own reusable coffee cups.”
Also recently signed up to the app is the Waterloo Tea chain of teahouses, which recently announced plans for a sixth site on Whitchurch Road. Founder Kas said “Our sites in Penylan, Lakeside, Roath and the city centre have all been added to the Refill app; we display our sticker to let customers know that they don't have to buy bottled water, they can refill their reusable water bottles with us for free. Next month, on World Refill Day, we will also be launching a new discount scheme for people who use their own takeaway coffee cups.”
Both businesses – alongside many others around Cardiff – can be seen adding Refill window stickers to their shop fronts in a new film aimed at driving business sign-ups, available here. Other forward-thinking businesses in the food-to-go or retail sector are invited to share their involvement on social media using the hashtags #ReturnToRefill.
Jo Morley, Head of Campaigns at City to Sea said,
“The pandemic unfortunately led to a huge increase in single-use plastic, but as move towards a sense of normality, we need to ensure we don’t see a repeat of the scenes of last summer where our beaches, parks and beauty spots were covered in pointless single-use packaging. Refill provides a simple way for businesses and consumers to take action to turn the tide on plastic pollution – as we prepare for the first ever World Refill Day next month (16th June), it’s time to get reusables back on the menu!”
Any business can sign up as a Refill Station and add their own details by registering for free on the app at https://refill.org.uk/get-the-refill-app/.
Better for the Planet, Better for Business
5.5 billion plastic bottles escape household recycling collection every year. They are littered, landfilled or incinerated (creating toxic fumes in the process).
Offering refills is an easy way to help reduce this figure, and over 120 health experts from eighteen countries have signed a statement assuring retailers and consumers that reusables are safe during COVID-19.
The health experts emphasise that disposable products are not inherently safer than reusables, and that reusable systems can be utilised safely during the pandemic by employing basic hygiene.
But offering refills also has a positive impact on business. According to research:
- 66% of people said they would be likely to make a purchase from a business whilst refilling.
- 65% would be likely to return to make a future purchase.
- 64% would choose to make a purchase from a participating business over a competitor.
- 7 out of 10 people would view a business more favourably if it provided refills.
How to Enjoy a No-Contact Refill
Reusables can be used safely and accepting them doesn’t have to be complicated – in fact it can be super simple. Here’s how cafes and other businesses can offer a no-contact refill:
- Customers place their clean reusable bottle or container (lid off) onto a designated spot and steps back two metres.
- The server refills the container without touching it. The customer replaces the lid and takes away the container.
- Using a clean napkin, the server takes the customer’s container and fills it from the tap. The server replaces the bottle on the counter and disposes of the napkin.
- Customers celebrate reducing the prevalence of single-use plastic – diolch!