Coastal businesses are being urged to put their tap on the map and help reduce the amount of plastic bottles ending up on beaches and in the sea.
The Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership is launching a new campaign to get them to sign up to the Refill scheme, which tells visitors where they can get their water bottles refilled.
Iain Robson, from the AONB Partnership, said: “We know that most of our businesses on the coast are only too happy to fill up water bottles with tap water for visitors, but there are only three businesses in the AONB registered on the Refill app.
“This scheme gives people confidence that they won’t be turned away from somewhere or cause upset when they ask for their bottles to be refilled.”
Kate Sutherland, who runs the Stableyard at Craster, is already on the app.
She said: “We were only too happy to fill people’s water bottles up from our tap so letting them know this by being on the Refill app made perfect sense.
“As abusiness in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we know that a clean environment is one of the main reasons people come to the Northumberland coast and we want to do as much as we can to help keep it that way.
The award-winning Refill campaign aims to prevent millions of plastic bottles ending up in the environment.
Charlotte Hawkins, from Refill, said “It has become a social norm to drink bottled water when we’re on the go, even though we have some of the safest tap water in the world.
“In the UK alone, we consume 13billion plastic bottles a year. Many of these bottles are disposed of properly and recycled but some inevitably end up in the sea and on the beach.
“Refill aims to make it easier for people to fill up their water bottles when they’re out by telling them which businesses near to them will do this.”
Businesses happy to refill water bottles, or with a publicly accessible tap, can join the scheme. Visit refill.org.uk
The AONB Partnership is already working with Coast Care, Plastic-free Beadnell and the North Northumberland Tourism Association to promote the scheme and is looking for more volunteers to speak to businesses in their own communities.
Anyone interested in volunteering to talk businesses can contact Anna Chouler at Coast Care by email at email@example.com or call 07816 603953.
Encouraging businesses to sign up to the Refill App is the first campaign to be launched by the AONB Partnership as a result of its recent beach litter survey.
A social media campaign will begin at Easter to encourage visitors to reduce the environmental impact of their trip to the coast.
How you can help
The Gazette’s Get Drastic With Plastic campaign aims to reduce single-use plastics.
A greater awareness and a change in attitudes can reduce plastic waste.
Since the plastic-bag charge began, a reduction of plastic bags has been found on UK coasts.
We are seeing further commitment and positive steps from the Government and many companies are committing to changing their packaging.
But there are some steps we can all take.
1. Buy a refillable water bottle;
2. Buy a reusable coffee cup;
3. Say no to plastic straws;
4. Use paper-stemmed cotton buds;
5. Join a beach clean.