– 39 million single-use plastic bottles used every day in the UK –
– But research shows 18 per cent fewer bottles are sold in petrol forecourt kiosks offering water refills –
Morrisons is offering free water refills nationwide at all of its petrol forecourts, as well as in store, to encourage customers and motorists to make the switch from single-use plastic to refillable bottles.
Over 14 billion single-use plastic bottles are used each year in the UK – equal to 39 million a day – with the majority purchased on-the-go or at work. However, new research has found that 63 per cent of people would like to do more to reduce plastic, but claim the biggest barrier to taking action is a lack of plastic free alternatives.
At Morrisons petrol forecourt kiosks, customers will now be able to hand their reusable bottles to attendants who will fill them up for free, before sanitising them and returning them to the customer. The service will be available at all of Morrisons 338 filling stations nationwide.
The move comes after a 12 week Morrisons trial in August 2020 where 18 per cent fewer single-use water bottles were sold, in comparison to the same period the previous year. Morrisons is therefore extending the refill service following the trial’s success.
Morrisons has already installed over 300 stand-alone water fountains in the Food-to-Go sections of its stores for customers to fill their bottles on-the-go. It was also one of the first to offer water refills in all of its cafe stores nationwide in 2018.
Natasha Cook, Sustainability Manager at Morrisons, said: “When we listen to customers, it’s clear they want us to help them reduce the amount of single-use plastic they throw away. We know that customers often pick up a bottle of water when paying for petrol, so offering free water should be an effective way of reducing these single-use plastic bottles.”
Natalie Fée, CEO and founder of City to Sea, said: “Plastic water bottles are one of the most commonly found single-use plastic items on our beaches and in our oceans, which is why we have to make refilling our water bottles the new normal. Our free Refill app shows you where you can top up your bottle for free and now includes the 338 Morrisons petrol stations – which is absolutely brilliant news for people and the planet! But this isn’t just about water, it’s about all highly polluting single-use plastics. That’s why Refill now shows you where you can eat, drink and shop with less plastic and why City to Sea welcomed the fantastic news of Morrisons trialling refillable milk bottles back in store. Refill and reuse is the future of packaging, and Morrisons are taking big steps in helping us on this journey.”
Free petrol station and in store refills is the latest plastic reduction initiative from Morrisons who has reduced plastic in their 497 stores by over 8,000 tonnes of our own brand plastic packaging since 2017. Other moves include Morrisons being the first supermarket to ditch plastic carrier bags in favour of paper carrier bags, using traditional paper bags for loose fruit and vegetables, plus introducing a refillable container service on fish, meat and deli counters to reduce single-use packaging.
Customers can locate refill stations by using the Refill App and www.refill.org.uk.