A network of water stations are springing up around Worthing as part of a new campaign to break our disposable plastic habit.
The environmental scheme, called Worthing Refill, will encourage residents to refill existing bottles of water, rather than buy new plastic bottles.
Those behind the scheme recognised early that this could only succeed if there was an easily available network of refill stations to access water.
Organisers have signed up local businesses, cafes and other venues including Worthing Borough Council offices so that people can refill for free.
More than 40 water refill stations have been confirmed, with more locations being added every day.
The scheme will be officially launched on Wednesday (August 15) with a lunchtime publicity blitz and an official reception at St Paul’s cafe in Chapel Road between 5.30pm and 8pm.
It will feature speeches from environmental experts Atlanta Cook (Surfers Against Sewage) and Cat Fletcher (Freegle UK, Brighton Waste House), as well as stalls, workshops about plastics reduction and a prize draw to win a refillable bottle.
Councillor Edward Crouch, Executive Member for Digital and Environmental Services,said: “This is an excellent scheme which we are only too happy to support.
“The amount of plastics being dumped in our environment and our seas is one of the biggest issues of today and people are beginning to respond by cutting down on their purchase of disposal one-off plastics as well as rightly questioning how much plastic goes into everyday items.
“I’m pleased so many businesses and venues are on board with this scheme supplying free water sources.”
More than 35 million plastic bottles are being used every day in the UK – but 16 million are not put out for recycling, the council said.
Plastic bottles can take 450 years to break down in the environment, but never disappear – they just break down into smaller and smaller particles.
A Refill app is now available in Worthing, showing people where the current stations are in the town and allows new venue owners to join in by placing their own places on the map.
The Worthing Refill scheme is being led by Worthing Climate Action Network and supported by Worthing Borough Council, Transition Town Worthing, West Sussex County Council and Southern Water.
Michelle Furtado, of Worthing Climate Action network, said: “This scheme is an excellent way for people to start reducing their use of single-use plastics whilst keeping our communities properly hydrated during this scorching summer.
“We now have over 40 trailblazing Refill Stations signed up to support the scheme and this is growing all the time.
“I’m looking forward to using this scheme as a platform for discussion and action to help people break their plastic habit
“Together, Worthing can make a real difference in reducing plastic waste.”