Penarth Town Council is considering signing-up to a scheme which will enable anyone to enter participating shops, cafes and other businesses in Penarth – including the council offices – and ask for their water bottle to be re-filled with tap-water, free of charge.
The scheme is called “City to Sea Refill” which originated in Bristol and already operates in Llantwit Major.
The idea is that refilling plastic bottles saves them being thrown away after just one use – and therefore would help reduce the amount of plastic in the environment.
The refill scheme involves the use of a free mobile phone “app” which would map the locations of participating organisations in the town. A Refill logo is also to be displayed in the front windows of businesses taking part.
There would be a “reward scheme” which would hand out tokens to those refilling their plastic bottles which would entitle them – in due course – to claim a free metal water bottle – branded with the Penarth Town Council logo.
There are also plans to install a water fountain in Penarth Town Centre funded by sponsorship from local businesses.
Cllr Jon Luxton (Labour Stanwell) asked the council’s policy innovation and development committee – which was considering the idea – whether there was any evidence that such a scheme actually worked . Council officer Arabella Calder said that there was evidence the refill logo was becoming increasingly well-known.
Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) asked if it would be possible to have refill stations set up in the council HQ at West House, the Paget Rooms and Penarth Cemetery.
Ms Calder said “Well we can put a sticker on our window here and if somebody rings the bell they can come upstairs and fill their water bottle” .
Cllr Gary Allman (Conservative St Augustines) – who has done much to draw attention to the large amount of plastic waste floating in Cardiff Bay – asked where the council would stand on Health and Safety in providing this service. Council officers said most businesses – and the council – had their own Health and Safety regulations.
Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said – “We’re working on an open goal here; we should be doing it” but said it was right to point out some of the issues “Health and Safety is obviously one of them” but added that many local residents had “water-quality issues in this town. Lots of people have got old pipes for example. That’s almost inevitable, but you can get around that by making sure you run the tap a little bit – not too much – and you get rid of the contaminants that way”.
Cllr Wilson said it was an excellent idea which the town council should be promoting. The council could pay the initial £250 registration fee – but subsequently he suggested that this could be taken on in due course by Gwyrddio Penarth Greening (GPG) – [the environmental organisation run by Green Party activist Anthony Slaughter].
It was resolved that the Town Council would try the scheme for one year .