Dundee venues sign up to free water refill app

Councillor Kevin Cordell, the council’s neighbourhood services convener, with his refillable bottle and the Refill app on his phone.

Venues across Dundee have signed up to an initiative that allows people to fill reusable water bottles free of charge using an app.

The Refill scheme allows local businesses to list themselves on a mobile app as a point where people can refill their drinking bottle for free.

It’s the brainchild of non-profit City To Sea, which aims to cut down on plastic pollution in the world’s oceans and encourage “healthy hydration”.

Kevin Cordell, the council’s neighbourhood services convener, today gave the app his backing — and plans to discuss it with environment officers.

The Broughty Ferry councillor said: “I would be happy to see the council explore whether the initiative is something it could get involved with, as plastic waste is a big issue for the environment.

“According to the Marine Conservation Society, 70% of the litter found on beaches in the UK is plastic. That is a big concern for me, as we strive to keep Broughty beach in the award-winning condition it is.

“I think schemes such as Refill could win public support and it is certainly one I’d be happy to raise with officers.”

More than 1,600 cafes, bars, museums and businesses are listed on the app, but only seven of those are in Dundee. Five of the stops are on Dundee University’s campus, with the other two being the Innis and Gunn Beer Kitchen on South Tay Street and cosmetics store Lush in the Overgate. Dundee Rep has also expressed an interest in joining the scheme.

Andrew Llanwarne, Tayside coordinator with Friends of the Earth (FoE), said his group would welcome Refill.

Nationally, FoE has just launched its PlasticFreeFriday campaign to encourage less plastic usage.

Andrew added: “As with the levy on shopping bags, it can help to change our throwaway culture and make us all more appreciative of the resources we use and the impact of our consumer society on the environment.”

Gus Hoyt, programme manager of Refill, said: “We haven’t got any official sites in major Scottish cities yet but are hoping to partner with Scottish Water to help deliver Refill Scotland.

“We have had a lot of interest from independent volunteers and Refill champions including some amazing volunteers from a climate mitigation leadership youth group, funded by the Scottish Government. Ideally I’d like to hire or sponsor as local coordinators going forward – but that’s the future plans.

“For now the best thing people can do is download the free Refill app and add their own local cafés and businesses. Just tap and hold on the location and fill in the details – remember that a lovely photo makes it look more inviting and is great publicity for the business too.

“Just don’t forget to ask permission from the owner first.”