Today, 16th June, is World refill Day, as well as being forecast to be the hottest day of the year. World Refill is a global campaign to encourage people to sign up to a pledge to reduce single use plastic. As an organisation, they have partnered up with Chilly’s water bottles to promote using reusable water bottles with the moto; Reduce, Reuse, Refill.
Plastic water bottles are a big factor in the war on plastic waste. Statistics from Recycle Now:
It is estimated that an average of 35.8 million plastic bottles are used EVERY DAY in the UK, but only 19.8 million are recycled each day. This means there are on average 16 million plastic bottles a day not making their way into the recycling bin.
Even for those plastic bottles that do make into the recycling system, this processing requires energy to break the plastics down to then make them into new recycled materials. A better way forward is surely to re-use a bottle? I love my Emma Brigewater Chilly’s bottle I was given as a gift that is that is insulated with a a vacuum layer to keep liquid to temperature which is really helpful on hot days like today. Its also leak-proof and light weight enough to use without a second thought for taking it in a rucksack for the day.
There are other recyclable materials too than can be used for reusable water bottles such as Polypropylene or LDPE for sports bottles which have some flexibility. I have seen glass bottles used before and although they look really pretty, they are heavy and likely to break. I’m quite curious about a new material I’ve seen being used which is a a Tritan plastic, a form of copolyester. It is a BPA-free plastic which means it does not contain bisphenol A, an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1950s. Small exposure to the chemical is considered safe but some people want to buy products chemical- free which is totally understandable and definitely something to consider to be more environmentally ‘clean’. Tritan material look like glass, is lighter than glass and promises not to break or shatter. It does seem like a good option and something I was to look into more. My guess is that it probably more expensive to produce at the moment than the alternatives for the market. I knew my degree in materials science would come in useful someday?
When researching any reusable water bottles, have a look at the component parts for when the water bottles is no longer needed. Some have fancy caps on bottles or straws which cannot be easily separated which would make them non- recyclable after use. Also check for any plastic films that are printed on the top too as these would need to be removed for the recycling process. Most plastic water bottles are recyclable, and you can look for the recycle logo on the bottom. It will give a code and what will tell you which plastic it is and if it can go in your kerb-side recycling for your local area.
We are really lucky in the UK to have good quality drinking water readily available. According to the national Water Aid charity:
785 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.
This is a shocking statistic that should make up appreciate our tap water rather than reach for another plastic bottle from a supermarket shelf. As part of the refill campaign, local companies can register if they have a public water refill station so that people can download an app to use for nearest water top-ups. In Letchworth, they will refill your water bottle at the Bamboo turtle shop, at the same time you can use refillable container for your food stapes like pasta and rice.
If you are looking for a little eco gift for someone, why not consider a Chilly’s water bottle, or a give on their behalf to water aid to help other counties with clean water that we often take for granted.