A water bottle refill scheme is coming to Swaffham and we’ve been helping local businesses to sign up ahead of the launch.

Refill works by connecting people who want to fill up their water bottles while they’re out and about with businesses who are offering them the facilities to do so, free of charge. The connection is made through the official Refill app, which is free to download for Android and Apple smartphones and tablets.

The Refill app covers the whole country, so participating businesses simply sign up to the app and then they can be found by local customers, visitors and tourists who are looking for places they can eat, drink and shop with less waste.

Businesses who sign up are also given a Refill sticker to display in their door or window; to let passers-by, or anyone who doesn’t want to use the app, know that they are welcome to come on in and get a refill.

The benefit of the Refill scheme is a reduction of the impact of plastic bottles on the environment. 7 billion plastic bottles are bought across the UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste. By encouraging people to carry reusable water bottles and visit refill stations, the Refill campaign has already prevented over 100 million pieces of plastic from being discarded.

The Refill scheme is being launched in Swaffham as part of our Sustainable Swaffham programme. The programme will see the rollout of a number of ‘green’ schemes, funded by the council’s Market Towns Initiative.

Our officers have been contacting local business owners to talk to them about Refill:Swaffham ahead of the scheme’s launch, and already ten businesses have joined the scheme, adding to the list of existing participants. After the scheme launches officially on 6 August, every business that joins Refill:Swaffham will be offered 20 free Sustainable Swaffham reusable water bottles, to give away to customers who pop in for a refill.

Cllr Paul Claussen, Executive Member for Economic Development and Growth, said “Refill:Swaffham is a great scheme that’s really going to put Swaffham on the map as a town that cares about sustainability. Offering people a way to refill reusable water bottles is doing your bit to reduce single-use plastic waste, and it attracts customers to your business. I hope as many Swaffham businesses as possible will see the benefits of the scheme and sign up.”