World Refill Day 2021
15th June 2021
Refill started out in the South West of England in 2021. From small acorns... 5 years later the scheme is covered in towns and cities all over the the UK and is now international. Great work City-to-Sea! Great work all those who support the scheme!
Wednesday 16th June 2021 is World Refill Day. It is to raise awareness of the importance of supporting reuse and to encourage people to make positive changes to reduce plastic use. With simple measures, reuse can be done safely. 100 scientists wrote to governments and industry across the world with this message. Sadly we are still waiting for strong legislation to reduce plastic production and many businesses are shirking responsibility for plastic use.
Since its launch in 2015, Refill is estimated to have saved over 100 million single-use bottles from being produced and polluting the environment. The scheme has recently extended beyond water bottles, to include food and other shopping. For the Refill Swindon campaign, we work to grow the scheme by engaging with people, organisations, representatives, and media. We have increased the number of local stations to around 50.
Recently our work to further reuse has been hampered by public misconceptions. So let’s set the record straight. The idea that plastic is somehow clean and safe is false. In response to Covid-19, our use of plastic packaging has increased substantially.
It is vital to understand that plastic pollutes throughout its existence, not just when it’s disposed of (see our resource, The Life of a Plastic Bottle. It harbours pathogens, attracts pollutants, and furthers disease and suffering for humans and animals. In tests to measure the duration that materials harbour viruses, plastic (along with steel) came out the worst at up to 3 days! Inhaled plastic fibres can damage lung cells and hinder their ability to regenerate. Plastic isn’t digestible and doesn’t harmonise with nature. When we litter pick, the smell of stale water caught up in plastic packaging is often disgusting. Genetic mutations, cancers, hormone disruption, developmental disorders, reproductive disorders… Plastic and disease (dis - ease) go hand in hand.
Our use of single-use plastic PPE has been obscene. Globally we have been using 129 billion single-use plastic masks and 65 billion single-use plastic gloves per month! This is clearly not healthy or sustainable. We are attempting to deal with one crisis by furthering another.
We need to take responsibility for our plastic usage and make simple, healthy choices for the good of all. Here are choices we can all make: Use a reusable bottle, coffee cup and food containers, buy from a zero waste shop, carry a reusable bag, use reusable masks. Download the Refill app, use the local stations list on our website or look out for the blue Refill stickers. Be the change, encourage the change, Swindon. We urgently need that if we are to avoid further crises and suffering.
Refill Swindon spent the day encouraging the public and businesses to join up with the scheme and raising awareness via all channels.