Guildford in Surrey receives first water bottle refilling station


IN order to tackle single-use plastics, Guildford Borough Council has installed its first water bottle refilling station.

The refill station, located outside the public toilets at the junction of Ward Street and North Street, opposite Guildford Library, is jointly funded by the Council and Surrey Environment Partnership.

It is part of the Refill App network, a smart phone app linked to over 20,000 refill stations across the UK providing free fresh drinking water.

A meter will gauge usage of the station, which will be subject to strict water quality standards.

Further refill stations are planned for Stoke Park and Tunsgate, as Guildford Borough Council continues its drive towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 and support of the local Plastic Free Guildford initiative.

The Council declared a climate emergency in July 2019, which included a commitment to reduce all single-use plastics to minimal medical or other essential uses.

Leader of the Council and Lead Councillor for Sustainable Transport, Transformation and Regeneration, Economic Development, Asset Management and Governance, Councillor Caroline Reeves said: “This refilling station is just the latest small step in our journey to combating the climate emergency, but we look forward to seeing the cumulative effects of this initiative, alongside our commitment to a carbon-neutral borough, reducing single-use plastics, and installing drinking water fountains.”

Refilling bottles, rather than throwing them away, reduces the amount of plastic used and in turn the carbon emitted in the production process.

Every time one of its filling stations is used, Refill receives 13p from its supporters and partners to help fund further environmental projects.

Councillor Reeves added: “Climate change affects everything and everybody and we will continue to lead by example in 2020, with the decisions we make and the support we give to residents, organisations and initiatives that can have a real positive impact. This has to be our top priority.”

Surrey Environment Partnership is made up of Surrey County Council and the 11 district and borough councils in the county.

It aims to manage Surrey’s waste in the most efficient, effective, economical and sustainable manner.

Mike Goodman, Chairman of the Surrey Environment Partnership, said: “We’re committed to eliminating avoidable single-use plastics in Surrey and this water refill station will play a part in that.

“By encouraging residents to carry their own refillable water cups, we’ll help reduce the volume of single-use plastics waste and counter the damaging effects of producing and dealing with it.”

The Greener Guildford Initiative is a commitment to protect and promote Guildford as an environmentally conscious and friendly town.

Sasha Atkins, Business Support Manager and Greener Guildford Ambassador for Experience Guildford says: “Following our work on the Greener Guildford initiative, we were recently invited to sit on the community panel for Surrey’s Greener Future and found it encouraging to hear about the steps being taken locally to combat the climate emergency.

“As long-term champions of the refill scheme in the town centre, we are delighted to see investment being made in the installation of this and further refill stations in Guildford.”