Thousands of plastic bottles containing water stand by for Cardiff Half Marathon competitors on Penarth Road .

The Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council’s new Innovation Committee  is tonight due to consider a recommendation that council-tax payers’ money should be used to pay for the production of “Penarth Town Council” branded water-bottles.

The branded Penarth Council bottles would be made of glass –  as opposed to plastic –  and would be re-fillable.

Local retailers would be encouraged to “indicate their willingness to provide free tap-water [to re-fill the bottles] through the display of a window-sticker alongside their participation in other Penarth Town Council schemes such as “Shop in Penarth2 and Penarth in Bloom”  .

The report concedes however that the profit on selling commercial bottled water is an important source of income for many retailers

The public water fountain in Belle Vue Park

Penarth Councillors are also to consider the viability of re-introducing a public water fountain the town centre.

Sarah Tanburn has floated out the idea

The initiative has come from Penarth resident Sarah Tanburn who is taking part in a Round Britain sailing mission  to “raise awareness” of the threats to the marine environment posed by discarded plastic bottles and other plastic waste.

She proposes that 500 re-usable re-fillable water bottles bearing the Penarth Town Council brand should be produced at a cost of £5,175 (including design,advertising and distribution)  and sold to retail customers at a total retail value of  £5,000. 

The water fountain – she estimates – would cost another £2,000. Ms Tanburn’s report to the council admits that “Drinking fountains are unhygienic ” but points out that they “have served the UK well for 150 years” and all that needed is to allow the water to “run a short while” before refilling a bottle.

One proposal before Penarth Council is for “Welsh Water” [a.k.a. Dwr Cymru] to install the proposed Town Centre fountain free of charge – a proposal which has yet to be responded to by Welsh Water. [Welsh Water is subsidiary of the so-called”not for profit” utility company Glas Cymru which is said to pay its directors far in excess of what its Scottish equivalent (Scottish Water) pays its executives and which is also said to inflict higher charges on its customers in Wales than does Scottish Water .  An investigation of Glas Cymru called “The Great Welsh Water Robbery ” has been published by Rebecca Television and can be read on  http://tinyurl.com/knzjjat]

Plastic bottles left behind by marathon runners in Penarth Marina

One Penarth Marina resident was less than enthusiastic about the proposed Penarth Council glass bottles

She said – and said it would be far more realistic if  Penarth Council instead banned the use of plastic water bottles by competitors in the Cardiff Half Marathon – hundreds of which end up at the roadside every year thrown away by runners.


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  1. andrewsketty says:

    Perhaps Hazell & Co could stock them in the Pavilion Cafe -or even the wine bar if it ever opens again for the cinema?

  2. Chris David says:

    Not for profit ca be a lovely earner. Its just a matter of where you direct the profit before you don’t make any! Bit like the big charity sector really and maybe the HLF when the questions are asked. Still hope it all goes well and everything is re-usable.

  3. snoggerdog says:

    i remember the two public drinking fountains each end of the prom (also the urinals) councils did joined up thinking in those days.does anybody know of more drinking fountains in penarth ? by the way i dont mean wetherspoons,they have a free water fountain.

  4. My Stanwell standard maths abilities might not quite be what they were, however I’m sure back in the day £5,000 divided by 500 means £10 a bottle.

    Well best of luck with that really well thought out idea then.

    I am as concerned as anybody else with the worldwide plastic pollution that appears to out of control but lets have some realistic workable ideas to help the situation rather than expecting anyone to buy a glass bottle for £10.

    Just off the top of my head why not a 50p per plastic bottle refund scheme similar to those that operated years ago when many of us were kids. it’s worthwhile returning the plastic bottles for that sort of money, and kids and others would scour the streets for discarded marked bottles to return as well in order to generate extra pocket money funds for themselves.

    I’m struggling to see a downside other than retailers having to set aside space for storage of returned bottles until collection by a collection authority or company.

  5. Local beachwarden says:

    What we should have is a refundable charge on ALL bottles so that litter strewn around Penarth and all GB can be reduced. As a child in the fifties one perk was collecting discarded bottles and collecting the 3d refund. Every week the Penarth voluntary Beachwarden’s collect numerous glass and plastic bottles left strewn and washed up on our beach. This morning I collected two carrier bags full of plastic and beer bottles left among the debris of a late night BBQ, many of the bottles still filled with stale flat beer.

  6. What we should also do is have a ban on the use of disposable items and packaging when used on the premises.

  7. John Powell says:

    Yet again, someone wants to push a pet cause for ‘ Charidee’ at the expense of
    other people, in this case, the council tax payer and local traders who aren’t at all pressed with business rates and water rates and anyway have nothing else to do but spend all day filling up water bottles at their own expense!

    The Council would do much better if it spent its time trying to help traders rather than spending a fortune on ideas like this. They could start by acting to reduce the number of so-called charity shop’s.

  8. whatsoccurin says:

    I have re-filled my plastic water bottles for years-I know “nanny state” will frown in disapproval but I can live with that and have never suffered any ill-effects.

  9. NickP says:

    So how much has it cost so far to dream up a scheme to sell water bottles at £10 each (if they all sell, the scheme will still make a 3+% loss). to undermine the traders in Penarth who sell water?

  10. Robert says:


  11. Grechla says:

    Wow, really!! Some people are clearly thinking way too far outside of the box! Why can’t we just be encouraged to use our own reusable drinking water containers – as the article says, we massively need to reduce the amount of plastic we generate. As a bit of an aside, when I walked around Penarth Athletic Field this morning, I picked up 16 empty plastic bottles that had been left behind on the grass by the kids playing football there the evening before. All of the bottles were branded Lucozade/Coke etc – none were plain old water! As another aside, glass (generally wine/vodka) bottles are usually disposed of by smashing them against a wall. Perhaps efforts should be focused on educating our children about the need to reduce the use of plastics and the importance of recycling. As regards the installation by ‘Dwr Cymru Welsh Water’ of a FREE water fountain – it clearly wouldn’t be free as we all pay water charges. Once installed, I assume the local authority would be responsible for regularly testing the quality of the water supply. If contaminants were found at any time would Dwr Cymru be liable? If it was vandalised would Dwr Cymru have responsibility for repairing/replacing it? Don’t think I’d be terribly interested if I were Dwr Cymru.

  12. Old McDonald says:

    The Council gets dafter and dafter I kid you not. Why don’t they involve themselves with the the things that matter in our town – the Pavillion – the state of our roads – etc.,etc., the list is endless
    They were not voted in – whoever voted them – to become budding entrepreneurs – maybe they should all apply for The Apprentice –
    You can bet a load of dung from my farm, that if the Pavillion does open again, all the great and good Councillors will be there for the photo opportunity – but sadly most of them seem to have developed laryngitis over the last months.

  13. AK says:

    On a recent visit to Barcelona I was able to use a single bottle, refilled from the many public drinking fountains all over the city.

    I was forced to throw it away at the airport, in spite of it being empty at that point.

    Bring back the drinking fountains.

  14. Richard says:

    Water bottles are often hard to clean, reports the University of Nebraska. This can make them prime areas for bacterial growth. The University of California states that bacteria will often “thrive” in the bottles. Also, microbiologists say water bottles can transmit dangerous diseases like the norovirus.

    • Chris David says:

      Hells bells. Yeah millions die of bottle fever every day…….arrgghhh.

  15. David Wilton says:

    With regard public drinking fountains, the one in Belle Vue Park (installed in 2014) has been a big hit. The Friends of Belle Vue chose that design for its 3 tier feature ie. ground level bowl for pets, middle tier level accessable via wheelchair and children and the top downward facing is for refilling bottles.

    From memory, its was about approx £3k for the unit and £2k for fitting. There were many cheaper options but we wanted something fitting for its environment. There are strict standards for these involving non-return valves so you can’t contaminate the water supply, approved fitters etc. and various bodies had to sign off on it. It’s not been vandalised (yet!) and has just needed a wipe over occasionally.
    This is really popular and I would agree that other locations in Penarth would be equally as popular.

    • AK says:

      I didn’t know there was one in the park – well done Friends of Bellvue!

      I’ll be up tomorrow to check it out.

      More drinking fountains please!

  16. Mark Wilson says:

    For information we are not providing bottles and although we agree about the reuse of plastic bottles. We feel it is job of agencies such as Welsh Water to provide clean water in the town centre.

  17. John Powell says:

    Having read this again, fear it’s more to do with round-Britain sailing for a cause than reality. By all means install a drinking fountain and let people carry their own containers which they can refill and clean.

    Be great if the innovations committee of the town council could meet with residents and traders rather than jumping on the first idea that finds its way to them!

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