We are lucky enough to have fresh drinking water available from most taps nationwide therefore buying single-use water bottles to access water in New Zealand shouldn't be necessary. But how do we connect people with empty drink bottles to water taps and encourage them to refill their bottles?
RefillNZ is a nationwide initiative to reduce plastic pollution in Aotearoa by empowering people to refill their water bottles from local businesses and organisations while on the go instead of buying single use plastic bottles.
The initiative was brought to New Zealand by Jill Ford in 2018 who, after working with the team who founded the operation in the UK and becoming frustrated with plastic pollution across the globe, decided to take action in Wellington and then roll it out to the rest of New Zealand.
Many cafes, restaurants and bars provide tap water but most people feel uncomfortable popping into refill their water bottles for free and public water fountains are often hard to find. RefillNZ offers an easy solution businesses can use to encourage people to bring their own bottles and refill by providing stickers and posters for businesses to put in their window. This lets people know they are a RefillNZ station and they can pop in and refill for free even if they're not buying anything.
In the organisation’s first year they’ve had great success, signing up over 600 cafes, restaurants and other organisations throughout NZ and winning the Keep NZ Beautiful – Community Environmental Initiative award.
Queenstown business have embraced the initiative, with RefillNZ water stations now popping up in cafes, restaurants and hotels/accommodation providers throughout the region. If you’re out and about in Queenstown, make sure to pack your drink bottle and look out for the RefillNZ stickers on local cafes, hotels and store fronts.
In New Zealand an estimated 828 million single-use plastic bottles are thrown away per year. By making the simple choice of bringing your own drink bottle with you when you travel, we can help make our beautiful backyard plastic bottle free for future generations.