As part of Climate Action North East′s World Environment Day event at the city′s Marriott Hotel (Tuesday, March 5), Northumbrian Water officially kicked off the Refill campaign′s move into Wearside.
Already, more than 70 businesses across the city have signed up to become Refill Stations, places where people can fill up their refillable bottles with tap water, free of charge.
The aim of Refill, which was set up by Bristol-based not for profit organisation City To Sea, is to reduce the reliance upon single-use plastic bottles. Since Northumbrian Water brought Refill to the North East in November, more than 400 Refill Stations - from cafes to estate agents - have been set up. While the campaign has only officially launched in the Durham and Newcastle areas, businesses across the whole region have been signing up.
Businesses simply need to allow people to bring in their bottles to be topped up from the tap. Window stickers are supplied to help them to promote their part in the scheme, and they can also register on the Refill app, which people use to find their nearest station.
Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water, said: "As residents of a coastal city, the people of Sunderland know the harm that plastics can do to the environment, so I am confident that they will embrace Refill and make it as big a success here as it′s been in other areas where it has launched.
"It couldn′t be simpler to set up a Refill Station. All a business needs is a tap and the will to help the environment!
"It′s also really easy for members of the public, who just need to take a refillable bottle with them when they go out and use the Refill app to find their nearest station. We would also encourage anybody to support the campaign by encouraging local businesses and organisations to sign up.
"We′re really looking forward to helping Sunderland become a Refill city and make a real impact in the fight against plastic pollution."
To find out more about Refill, or to download the app, people can visit www.refill.org.uk.