World Refill Day 2024

June 16th 2024

World Refill Day is a global day of action designed to accelerate the transition away from single-use plastic and towards refill and reuse. Here's our round up of the key aims and local activities this year.

Step up for reuse: people on the go with refillable water bottles.

Key aims and activities

  1. Accelerate the transition to refill and reuse:
    World Refill Day provides a global comms opportunity to get everyone talking about refill and reuse, building awareness and helping us to reimagine the future we want and need to see.
  2. Drive legislative change:
    We’re calling for the UK government to set legally-binding and time-bound targets to increase the amount of packaging on the market that’s reusable. We’re calling for 5% by 2026 and 30% by 2030. Internationally we're supporting a Global Plastics Treaty.
  3. Inspire community action:
    Encourage our communities to amplify our call by writing to their local candidates ahead of the election asking them to support a legally binding global plastics treaty and ambitious reuse targets, as outlined in our Reuse Manifesto.
  4. Connect our actions to our rivers and oceans:
    Inspiring our communities, supporters, partners and friends around the world to get out into nature and enjoy their local blue and green spaces by organising a walk, litter pick or simply by being in out in the natural environment.

Local activities

Birds and Bees show

We hosted a Birds and Bees show special for World Refill Day on Swindon 105.5. We talked with 3 people from progressive local businesses / organisations who are leading the way on refill and reuse: Kate Robinson of Purton House Organics, Louise Cheesman of Refill Station, and Vicky Ellis of Upcycle Swindon. The show is available on Catch Up and Mixcloud.

Kate Robinson outside Purton House Organics' farm shop
Rivermead litter pick

Keep Swindon Tidy returned to Rivermead for World Refill Day, having thoroughly cleaned the area in 2021/2. This included a plastic audit to show the littered single-use items that wouldn't have been there had we refilled and reused instead. We collected 97 plastic bottles, 61 coffee cups, 57 cans, and 20 glass bottles in 2 hours.

Litter pollutes the environment contributing to climate change and loss of biodiversity. It also negatively impacts mental health. According to Broken Window Theory and subsequent studies, levels of litter even correlate to levels of crime and other anti-social behaviour. So how we treat our local environment is so important and we all have a responsibility to do that.

Write for legislation

We contacted Swindon's Parliamentary candidates to ask them to support legislation to increase the amount of packaging on the market that's reusable: 5% by 2026 and 30% by 2030. Here's how they responded.

We ask you all to do the same. It will take 2 minutes of your time. You can use this template letter. See The Reuse Manifesto and City to Sea's policy document for full details of legislation sought.

We support legally binding reuse targets.
Schools and the college

We contacted all local schools and Swindon New College to provide information and suggest ways to take action. Year 1 Environmental Science students from New College adorned a skeleton in plastic littered around the grounds. They learnt all about plastic pollution and the many good reasons to support Refill.

Skeleton adorned with plastic litter
Parish councils

We contacted all local parish councils. Litter and fly-tipping cost parish councils time, money, and resources, which could be greatly reduced through refill and reuse. Broken window theory and subsequent studies show that the poor treatment of our environment can lead to higher crime and other anti-social behaviour. So there are many benefits to reducing plastic and other pollution! We've asked the parish councils to support World Refill Day and the Refill scheme as they are able.

Local champions

Welcome to our new Refill stations: Light Bulb Coffee and The Hop Inn. Swindon has around 80 Refill stations, local businesses and organisations who offer refills of one sort or another. We informed them of the day and encouraged them to share information with their networks. Many thanks to them. Together we can achieve so much!

Local media

We contacted all major local media outlets with a press release. The Swindon Advertiser ran this excellent article. And there was a feature in Business Biscuit.

Stay in the loop

You can follow Refill Swindon on Facebook, on Friendica in the Fediverse (you don't even need an account!), or by signing up for our newsletter.

Step up for reuse: refillable coffee cup and water bottle.