The number of water refill stations in Wales has increased 100-fold in the last year, making it easier for people to reuse bottles instead of buying a new plastic one every time, figures released today reveal.
First Minister Mark Drakeford today opened two new Refill stations at Cardiff Airport as he celebrated Wales’ progress towards becoming the first Refill Nation in the world.
Just a year ago, Wales had less than 10 Refill water stations – today there are more than 1,000, including the two new water fountains, which have been installed on either side of the security gates at Cardiff Airport. These will help to reduce the number of single-use plastic bottles being bought and disposed of at the airport.
The First Minister said: “We are increasingly understanding that our modern obsession with throw-away plastics comes with a high environmental price.
“But simply telling people to use less single-use plastic is not enough – we need to provide convenient alternatives to help people to do so.
“That’s why we’re proud to support the roll-out of refill stations across Wales and why we want to become the first Refill Nation in the world. I’m delighted with the progress made in the first year and the overwhelming response of businesses wanting to sign up.
“I’d like to see refilling water become the new social norm – helping people to save money and keeping us healthy, as well as saving the environment.”
As well as new water fountains in Cardiff Airport, Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs has launched the new Refill scheme at Mermaid Quay, in Cardiff Bay; Dafydd Elis Thomas, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism has launched a new refill tap at Caerphilly Castle and Hannah Blythyn, the Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, will turn on the new refill fountain at Belle Vue Park, in Newport.
The Welsh Government has helped to fund Refill in Wales by funding the post of a Wales Refill co-ordinator. It is also covering the licencing fees, which new Refill stations would have previously paid to sign up to ensure businesses and organisations have the information they need to become a refill location.
The Refill scheme is helping tap water be more widely available in public spaces like transport hubs, shopping centres and chains.
Rebecca Burgess, chief executive of City to Sea said:
“We’re really pleased to welcome Cardiff Airport to the Refill revolution on national refill day. The airport’s support makes it even easier for everyone to find free drinking water on the go.
“People from all walks of life are carrying a reusable bottle now and with Cardiff Airport providing free refills it puts the power in people’s hands to prevent plastic pollution.”