A new drinking water scheme to reduce plastic pollution and help people stay hydrated on the go is set to make waves in Southend.

Refill is a national campaign led by plastic pollution campaign group City to Sea which aims to provide a network of cafes, shops, hotels and other businesses that will refill reusable water bottles for free - reducing our reliance on single use plastics.


Participating businesses can register on the Refill app and display a sticker in their window to show that they offer free tap water. The app also allows users to locate their nearest Refill station, so all they need to do is remember to carry a reusable bottle to stay topped up on the move.


Essex & Suffolk Water has joined forces with Refill Local Champion Win O′Sullivan, Southend BID and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to launch Refill Southend and encourage local businesses in the town to become Refill stations.


A launch event was held at the Royals Shopping Centre in Southend on Thursday 31 January, giving people the opportunity to find out more about Refill.


Debbie Mitchell, Essex & Suffolk Water′s Marketing Brand Strategy Manager said: "It′s great to see so much interest in Refill in Southend already, and we look forward to seeing this spread across the town. It really is easy to get involved and help to reduce plastic pollution - just download the Refill app today, take your reusable bottle with you and start topping up on the go!"


Win O′Sullivan, Refill Local Coordinator said: "As the Southend Beachcare Volunteer coordinator for beach cleans along the Estuary, I look forward to being involved in reducing any potential litter in Southend that could make its way into our precious marine environment. Bringing the Refill scheme to Southend will help us to engage with our volunteers, businesses, organisations and general public who support us."


Sarah Irving, Refill Regional Coordinator said: "Every time we refill a re-useable bottle instead of buying and throwing away a single-use bottle we not only reduce the amount of plastic and fuel being used, we save a bit of money and help clean up our towns and open spaces too. We′re so excited to see the launch of Refill Southend which will make it easy to look out for the stickers or check the app to find out where you can refill for free."


Southend BID Manager, Alison Dewey said: "The Refill concept will not only to help protect the environment by reducing the use of single-use plastics, but also encourage footfall into participating shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. This has proven to be the case elsewhere in the UK, so I hope it will enjoy a similar take-up here in Southend."


Any local individuals and community groups that would like to help recruit Refill stations and help battle plastic pollution in Southend are also being encouraged to come forward and get involved.


The Refill app can be downloaded on smart phones and tablets, while more information about the campaign is available at www.refill.org.uk. Individuals or community groups that would like to get involved in Refill can find out more by emailing refill@nwl.co.uk.