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Suffolk village joins innovative water refill scheme - to combat single use plastic waste

PUBLISHED: 05:30 24 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:56 24 February 2019

Jess Rafinski with Debbie, Chris and Julie outside the Oranges & Lemons in East Bergholt

Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Jess Rafinski with Debbie, Chris and Julie outside the Oranges & Lemons in East Bergholt Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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Cafes, pubs and businesses in East Bergholt are joining an innovative scheme to combat plastic waste - offering people a place to top up their reusable water bottle rather than buying a new one.

Kerry-Ann from The Place for Plants plant centre showing her support. 

Picture: RACHEL EDGEKerry-Ann from The Place for Plants plant centre showing her support. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The Refill scheme encourages people to take advantage of water refilling stations at shops and businesses across the UK.

Businesses sign up to an app, mapping out where each participating business is, and are given a sticker to put up in the window to let people know they are part of the scheme.

East Bergholt is the latest village to take up the challenge – with cafe Oranges and Lemons, pubs the Hare and Hounds and The Royal Oak and garden centre The Place for Plants all signing up.

Jessica Rafinski, who has helped organise the village’s refill scheme, said she hoped others would be inspired to do the same.

Jason Alexander who has launched Refill SuffolkJason Alexander who has launched Refill Suffolk

“I had heard something about the national scheme and thought it was a really good idea,” she said.

“It’s a really easy scheme to join and it is good for everyone.
“It’s cheaper for us not to buy bottled water and better for the environment too.

“When people see businesses offering free refills I think people view them more favourably too.

“They may decide to grab a cup of tea or a slice of cake after they top up their bottle.”

The local businesses have signed up to the Water Refill Campaign

Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe local businesses have signed up to the Water Refill Campaign Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The Place for Plants has not sold plastic bottles for the past year and jumped at the chance to get involved with the scheme.

Owner Sarah Eley said: “Here at the garden centre we are incredibly anti-litter.

“We are very much part of this scheme - when they suggested it we said absolutely.”

The award-winning Refill scheme was launched in 2015 by non-for-profit organisation City to Sea.

The Royal Oak, East Bergholt

Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe Royal Oak, East Bergholt Picture: RACHEL EDGE

In September, Jason Alexander, from rubbishwalks.co.uk, launched Refill Suffolk in a bid to increase the number of businesses taking part in the county.

He said more than 100 venues across Suffolk had already signed up but was eager for more to get involved ready for the summer.

He said: “The key thing is trying to get people into the habit of remembering to take their refillable bottle with them.

“It is the same as when you have your bags for life.

The Hare & Hounds in East Bergholt

Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe Hare & Hounds in East Bergholt Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“How many times do you go into the shop and realise you have left your bags for life in the car and have to but a new one.

“It’s a similar thing with the reusable water bottles.

“More and more people are getting them but the key is to remember to take them out with you.

“The refill scheme is just part of the jigsaw puzzle of trying to help us all to change our behaviour and attitudes towards waste plastic and litter.

Kerry-Ann in the cafe refilling people's water bottles for free

Picture: RACHEL EDGEKerry-Ann in the cafe refilling people's water bottles for free Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“I think it is fantastic that lots of different places like East Bergholt are getting involved.”

If your business would like to register with the Refill scheme visit www.rubbishwalks.co.uk or www.refill.org.uk

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