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Free water refilling introduced to reduce single-use plastics

12 October 2021 : Council news, Environment

Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) is providing free tap water refilling stations in partnership with Wessex Water and Somerset County Council to help reduce plastic consumption.

Three refilling points are in the process of being installed on Warren Road, opposite the railway station in Minehead (w/c 4 October); in the High Street, outside Clarks shoe shop in Taunton (w/c 18 October); and in the High Street, outside the post office in Wellington (w/c 25 October).

Following installation, each refill point will undergo testing for a number of weeks testing to ensure compliance with the very highest drinking water standards, becoming available for public use towards the end of the year.

Once turned on, the refill units will be cleaned, maintained and inspected regularly to ensure the highest standards of hygiene and water quality.

The project is being funded by Wessex Water’s ‘Refill not Landfill’ campaign to reduce public reliance on the consumption of single-use water bottles. Each refilling station will offer free drinking water for visitors using reusable bottles as a sustainable alternative.

SWT is supporting the project and has been working with Somerset County Council to agree the locations and appropriate licenses for Wessex Water to carry out the installation work.

Along with the other Somerset authorities, both SWT and Somerset County Council have previously identified the need to reduce single-use plastics as part of the Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy.

Bottled water is known to be around 900 times more carbon intensive to produce than tap water. What is more, the UK throws away 7 billion plastic bottles of water every year, which contributes to the 12 million tonnes of plastic that annually enters our oceans and has a devastating effect on our eco systems.

Cllr Dixie Darch, Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “We’re excited to support the ‘Refill not Landfill’ campaign and grateful for the opportunity to work with Wessex Water to help break the habit of reaching for single-use plastics.

“The new fill-up points will provide a green and money-saving alternative for members of the public, whilst reducing the amount of single-use water bottles being thrown away.

“This is a very positive and achievable step that we can all take to reduce both our carbon and waste outputs.”

Kirsty Scarlett, Head of Community Engagement for Wessex Water, said: “The water refill points have been installed in great locations to keep residents and visitors hydrated.

“These are just some of the many water refill points we will be installing across the region as part of our mission to reduce the number of single-use plastic bottles we all use.

“We are pleased to be able to work with so many local communities which share the same aim of promoting refill over landfill.”

For more information and locations of other refill points in the Wessex Water region visit wessexwater.co.uk/refill.

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