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U.K. water bottle refill schemes

Bristol Water Refill

"Refill Bristol is a practical campaign to make Bristol a city in which refilling your water bottle becomes a cultural ...
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Selfridges Water Refill

Selfridges are setting out to tackle plastic pollution in the ocean by "removing all single-use plastic water bottles from our ...
Read More

Give Me Tap – water bottle, water refill & water aid

We are a social enterprise committed to improving water accessibility in the UK, Africa and the World through our reusable ...
Read More

Bath, Love Tap Water Refill Scheme

A new water refill scheme based in Bath. The following has been taken from their website... Two local women want to ...
Read More

Water Abroad

We sterilize our own water using a Steripen …. but when a bottle refill service is offered we will use that instead. Find refill places here…

Of course water in many countries the water is actually safe to drink – you can find out where here.

And here are a list of places you can refill your bottle abroad

Water Bottles

Check out which water bottle here

Water Bottle Bans

Links to interesting projects that are tackling the problems of bottled water

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Bristol Water Refill

“Refill Bristol is a practical campaign to make Bristol a city in which refilling your water bottle becomes a cultural norm.”

But how you ask?

“Participating cafes, bars, restaurants, banks, galleries, museums and other businesses will simply put a sticker in their window – alerting passers-by to the fact they’re welcome to come on in and fill up their bottle – for free!”

By the end of the year they hope to have signed up 100 businesses and have an app telling you where they are. For now you can to find them on this map.

Another great water refill scheme to look out for is Give Me Tap

And lets not forget Selfridges who have banned the sale of bottled water in their shops and installed a water refill bar.

 

 

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Refill/Bulk/Zerowaste Stores

Bulk buy or refill stores are places you can buy all kinds of food like rice, suet, even soup mix – loose and unpackaged.
You take as much as you want/need from a larger container, weigh and pay.
You can usually use your own packaging.
The advantages for the #plasticfree shopper hardly need stating!
These are common in America and Australia, far less so in the U.K. But we do have some.
I have put together a list of stores that sell loose products, listed alphabetically by the location / place name.

If you know of others please add them, with as many details as possible, in the comments box below and I will incorperperate them.
Packaging

While these shops provide bags and they are almost always plastic ones. You will need to take your own plastic-free /reusable bags, tubs and bottles.

Tare

The weight of the container may make a difference at checkout. Some shops  subtract the tare weight but other don’t. The tare weight is the weight of the empty container.

Latest finds

Not yet filed

Totnes
The Uk’s only Zero Waste, organic, bulk-buy, plant-based, wholefoods shop. Visit our family-run shop in Totnes, Devon.
http://thezerowasteshop.co.uk/

A to Z

My impressions of Aberystwyth have been mostly formed by the surreal, rather wonderful writings of Malcolm Pryce creator of Welsh noire. His lonely gum-shoe Louie Knight prowls the greasy, sun-lotion ...
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Find refill stores in Barmouth Bath Brighton Bridlington Brixam Bristol What Are Refill Stores? Bulk buy or refill stores are places you can buy food loose.You take as much as you ...
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Kingsmouth Devon Free local delivery – spend £7.50 and we will deliver free – within a 7-mile radius of Kingsbridge. Great for bulk buys. Good review here. Reapers @ReapersTiverton 18 Bampton Street, Tiverton, ...
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is for refill Stores in Edinburgh Emsworth What are refill stores? Bulk buy or refill stores are places you can buy food loose.You take as much as you want/need from a ...
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Pain Au Chocolat - home bake Pain Au Raisen - Home Bake Yorkshire Puds Fruits of the forest and other soft fruits Roast veg - peppers to potatoes Uncooked Vegetables ...
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Whole Foods Market are my idea of supermarket heaven. If there have to be supermarkets,  then let them be like this. 124-134 Fenwick Road Glasgow G46 6XN 0141 621 2700 ...
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A surprise discovery on a day trip to Horsham! Town & Country Weigh is at 7 East Street, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1HH. It has bulk food bins for rice (long grain, ...
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I try not to be bitter I really do but sometimes I think the yanks have it easy with their bulk buy shops. Sounds like you can buy just about ...
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Queensgate Market is a covered indoor market in the center of Huddersfield. It is home to over one hundred shops open six days a week. Bus Stop • Town Centre ...
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Liverpool Lincoln London Loose Foods? Anyone who lives in the U.K.  knows how hard it is to buy staple food like rice, pasta or cocoa loose and unpackaged. Do you ...
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Village Green Co-op Prestwich Village Greens is a Community co-operative grocery in Prestwich with fresh, local, organic, affordable produce . For the plastic free amongst us it has some loose, self-service ...
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Vegetable oil is difficult to source plastic free. Buy in glass and the metal caps will have a little plasticized disc or plastic liner on inside and maybe a plastic seal ...
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Welcome to SESI We are Oxford's longest serving refill station of food products and household detergents. SESI has its own range of laundry and household detergents which create no packaging waste from ...
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15B Causewayhead Penzance Cornwall TR18 2SN One of the incredibly eccentric loose food outlets that can occasionally be found huddled under the idiosyncratic Weigh and Save umbrella. You can read ...
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We always recommend shopping local and of course lots of shops sell stuff loose. Vegetables and meat are easily obtained loose and packaging free, even from supermarkets.  But anyone who lives ...
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Find refill stores in Tiverton Todmorden Totnes Find towns beginning with w different letterhere ... What Are Refill Stores? Bulk buy or refill stores are places you can buy food ...
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Long time ago when I was young we used to visit the Weigh & Save shop in the precinct down the road. In it were a number of  big bins ...
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Watford Wimborne Have refill stores that sell loose/unpackaged/zerowaste food of the type that normally comes plastic packed. What Are Refill Stores? Bulk buy or refill stores are places you can ...
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Seems like a trip to York is in order... and not just because the Minster is lovely. Ruth tells me of Alligatorwholefoods.com in York. They have bulk bins of Rice, museli base, ...
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 U.K. Wide

Scoop & Save, Weigh & Save ….and lots more related names
The nearest the U.K. has to bulk food buying. As far as I can tell, these shops run as individual unit. They go under a variety of names – Weigh & Save, Scoop & Save, etc. They are extremely idiosyncratic and vary greatly in presentation and  range.  Some go the whole hog with corporate green and yellow displays with a range of stuff to choose from, others a are little more than a few dusty bins at the back of the shop. You can read more here including a list of shops that have closed.

Whole Food Market – if we have to have supermarkets let them be like this. They have loose food aisle and you can take your own containers which they will tare for you. They don’t have many branches in the U.K. yet but if there is one near you your problems are solved. Reviews here.

Other Supermarkets & Chainstores
Sometimes supermarkets can surprise you – check out the plastic-free and reduced packaging products here.

Remember
While these shops provide bags and they are almost always plastic ones. You will need to take your own

Find A Milk Delivery Service With Glass Bottles

Here 

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 Bulk Buy In Polythene

Ok some things you can’t find plastic free and can’t give up. So which plastic packaging has the least impact? The best advice here is avoid the fancy graphics and shiny films and go for the simple, easily recyclable polythene. Find suppliers here

Help Me

Please add any shops you know of in the comments below and I will incorporate them into the post.
Links to reviews particularly welcome.
Dont have a blog? Love guest posts…

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You can find a list of all other plastic free products over at the A to Z

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Selfridges Water Refill

Selfridges are setting out to tackle plastic pollution in the ocean by “removing all single-use plastic water bottles from our Foodhalls and restaurants, amounting to approximately 400,000 bottles a year.”  Selfridges website.

I was a little confused by the wording. Single use? Surely all plastic bottles when used as packaging  are single use.  I wondered if perhaps they meant single serving water bottle. I have been caught out like this before. Got all giddy about a water bottle ban only to find that it was restricted to those tiny bottles that contain a small glassful each. Yes a start, but hardly a ban.

So I tweeted them

love that you are removing single use water bottles. Does this mean the single serving small water bottles or all bottled water?

and they replied

disposable water bottles have been replaced with access to water fountains within our store.

Way to go Selfridges.

This  is part of its Project Ocean initiative, a collaborative effort with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Marine Reserves Coalition (MRC).

“Professor Jonathan Baillie, director of conservation programmes at ZSL, said the amount of plastic in the oceans was “staggering” and having a “devastating effect” on marine wildlife.

“No matter where plastic litter originates, once it reaches the ocean it becomes a planetary problem as it is carried by ocean currents,” he said.  Business Green

There is also an exhibition curated by Jane Withers in the Ultralounge on G at Selfridges London featuring work by Studio Swine (one of our favourites – check out their great project here) Andrew Friend, Nick Wood and Alice Dunseath, “which shed light on the plastic problem and propose alternative futures.”  There is also an in store water fountain and water bar to refill your own bottle from.

There is lots more on the website including ways you can cut your plastic footprint.

Needless to say the British Plastics Federation (BPF)  “expressed its “dismay” at Selfridges’ move. Philip Law, the BPF’s director general said: “The availability of water in portable, lightweight bottles promotes good health and can be critical in emergency situations. Plastic products do not litter themselves onto our streets or into our oceans, people do.” Taken from Plastic News.

Does shopping in Selfridges  really count as an emergency situation? When might critical hydration be called for? If you can’t fit into a size 12? They don’t have it in the colour you want?  Situations when only water in a light weight bottle will do.

And of course people shouldn’t litter.  They shouldn’t rob houses either but I am not going to leave my  front door open. There are some anti-social elements who don’t behave as we would like. The challenge is how limit their negative impacts. Plastic litter  doesn’t biodegrade. Once out there it lasts for ever. It only takes few meanies to drop their bottles and you have an expensive case of plastic pollution. The answer is  not to say people should stop dropping trash but to stop making everlasting litter.

Some more info

Why plastic doesn’t biodegrade

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How to Refill

If you came here looking for it, it has been moved.

Follow the link for milk vending in Suffolk

other wise here is some information on refills

U.K. water bottle refill schemes

Water Abroad We sterilize our own water using a Steripen …. but when a bottle refill service is offered we will use ...
Read More

Refill/Bulk/Zerowaste Stores

Bulk buy or refill stores are places you can buy all kinds of food like rice, suet, even soup mix ...
Read More

Cleaning products Ecover Refill Liquid Cleaners

ECOVER  do all of these products and you can get your plastic bottle refilled. To find where  Ecover have a refill ...
Read More

Wine

I do have a social life. I occasionally get to  go out to dinner and wine is the present of ...
Read More

Milk Refill Vending Machine

Recently our van trip has been milk free. Seems they don't do milk in bottles in France. But if you ...
Read More

Oil Vegetable Cooking Refill

Vegetable oil is difficult to source plastic free. Buy in glass and the metal caps will have a little plasticized disc ...
Read More

Beer

Of course you can get beer in bottles but those metal caps have a plastic liner or small disc to ...
Read More

Water Refills World Wide

Find out first Of course water in many countries the water is actually safe to drink - you can find ...
Read More
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Cleaning products Ecover Refill Liquid Cleaners

ECOVER  do all of these products and you can get your plastic bottle refilled. To find where  Ecover have a refill station check the  postcode search on their site

TOILET CLEANER
LAUNDRY LIQUID,
FABRIC SOFTENER,
MULTISURFACE CLEANER,
Washing up liquid (other options here)

You can find more about liquid cleaners here including how to make your own

 

).

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Wine

I do have a social life. I occasionally get to  go out to dinner and wine is the present of choice. My friends are are gluten-free, minimalist drunks – what else am I going to take? But bottled wine often contains plastic – either a plastic cork or the metal screw top lid is plastic lined.

So I thought I would try to find a wine that was corked with a cork. I climbed out of the bargain booze bins and took myself off to a proper wine merchants. I explained my problem to the proper wine merchant and he recommended the Spanish wines as being more likely to use corks (they want to keep their cork industry alive). Also the better quality wines tend to use corks. Not entirely sure gluten-free drunks deserve such a treat but went ahead and purchased a bottle of quality Spanish wine with a cork sealed in foil.

HA! Peeled off the foil to a cork – sure enough…. BUT the foil, was plastic lined! Damn!

Seems the only way to get really plastic free wine is to use a refill service. Of course our civilised european cousins in Italy and Spain allow you to do just this. Most places will have a shop where you cant take your own bottle and get it filled with a choice of wines. Back in the U.K. your choices are rather more limited.

Borough Wines

When I went to Green Oscars, (did I mention I was in the same room as Colin Firth -hey it’s a start!), they were serving wine from Borough Wines . Borough Wines sell wine on tap and offer a refill service (you can read a Guardian review here). I don’t know if it was the tap wine we were drinking but my white was very nice. Sadly they only have shops in London – there’s a list here .

Whole food Supermarket

Wholefood supermarket also do a wine refill service (They have stores in Glasgow, London and Cheltenham – maybe more now – check the link)

Buying Refills In Cheltenham

Wholefood Market  (Cheltenham) offers a wine refill service. You buy a glass liter bottles from them that you then refill, yourself from the large and lovely barrel of wine. But as we wanted rather more than a liter and have no room for glass bottles in the van , (our current home). So we brought our own emergency plastic water bottle. It’s big and it’s plastic. Classy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dreadful shock then when we got there.  The refill wine barrel  I saw last time I was there was no longer in place. Desperate enquiries revealed that this hadn’t worked out and the wine kept going off.

I visibly reeled “But what of my wine refill” I whimpered.

Thankfully they still did refills but now a member of staff fills your bottle from a huge 15 liter wine box. Not quite what I was expecting and  stretching the not- in- my- bin rule to it’s limit – but still a refill is a refill and the plastic wasn’t in my bin. And there is still some green kudos to be gained it – was organic and cost considerably less to transport it this way. Besides which we desperate.

We proffered the canteen with trembling hands. Arghh!!! Now there was some doubt as to whether we could use a huge plastic water carrier. Once again we waited anxiously and sagged with relief when they agreed that we could.

Norfolk, Reno Wine

Not used those guys – the following is from their website…

“Our speciality is Refillable Bottles…

Buy one of our bottles and fill it with wine from our barrel taps in the Reno Wine shop in Wymondham, Norfolk.
Rinse out your bottle and bring it back to fill with more wine – and by reusing save yourself the cost of the glass bottle!
Speciality ‘Crafted Cask’ Whisky in Refillable Bottles also now available…

Go to 15 Market Street, Wymondham, Norfolk, NR18 0AJ
Open 9.30-5.30, Tues-Sat

Contact

T: 01953 425995
M: 07913 672275
E: sales@renowine.co.uk

London

A review of Clapton Craft – refill beers and wines. can be found here. 

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If anyone else knows of other wine refill options please leave a comment below… many thanks.

You can find other plastic free beverages here…

 

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Milk Refill Vending Machine

Recently our van trip has been milk free. Seems they don’t do milk in bottles in France. But if you are lucky, they do do milk in machines. Check out this milk dispenser outside a huge supermarket chain. Thats us filling our water bottle with fresh, cool milk!

And now some forward thinking folk in the U.K have invested

Happy World Milk Day from Nunton Farm Dairy! Come to our Open Farm Sunday on the 11th June to sample our milk from our brand new vending machine, which will be located outside the Radnor Arms, Nunton, from the 17th July onwards. Yay @nuntonfarm on Facebook for lots more info.

And this was taken from the website

The Milk vending machine is now open!!!  Fresh milk is available every day. We are very excited to be have this new facility to enable customers to help themselves to milk  from a vending machine, recycling glass bottles and  reducing plastic bottle wastage. We would like to thank the many customers who have already been  to use the vending machine for their support.
The machine can be found at
Whitegate Farm, Norwich Road, Creeting St Mary, Suffolk, IP6 8PG
01449 710458 / 07787 584386

Can’t get to Suffolk? There are still some milk men who deliver in glass bottles. Check this list. If you know of any others please add to it.

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Oil Vegetable Cooking Refill

Vegetable oil is difficult to source plastic free. Buy in glass and the metal caps will have a little plasticized disc or plastic liner on inside and maybe a plastic seal. Plus the bottle will almost always have a plastic pouring widget in the bottle top.Like I can’t pour oil out of a bottle??? Buy in  cans and they have a plastic lid, perhaps a handle and the can is of course  lined with plastic. You can read more here

On Tap
But if you are very lucky you might find a place that sell oils on tap that lets you use your own refillable bottle. Do you need me to explain that? They sell oil from the can and you take your own bottle, which they refill with oil. Whey – plastic free oil!

That said in 2015  Defra  banned ‘On tap’ olive oil. The following is taken form their website….”These oils mustn’t be sold ‘on tap’ in their pure form: extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, olive oil composed of refined olive oils and virgin olive oils, olive pomace oil. Today (2016) seems oil is back on tap. So,  for now you can buy olive oil on tap from a variety of store.

Using your own bottle?
It would seem that some stores allow you to refill your own bottle. Whole Food Market do and I refilled my glass bottle there.  But I cannot vouch for the others listed below! Any information on the subject is much appreciated.

Oil refills in the U.K.

The Bear Co-op, Todmorden, West Yorkshire.
The butchers St Agnes, Devon
Wholefood Supermarket Cheltenham & London

And (thanks to Carol Henshaw) the following in Scotland
Demijohn – Victoria St, Edinburgh refill oil & vinegar (and spirits at Demijohn).

There there was this conversation on Facebook….

Lyn Bull Olive oil Stoneygate, Leicester http://www.deliflavour.net/

DELIFLAVOUR.NET

Lyn Bull Their deli in silver arcade in the centre of Leicester may also do refills but not checked

Sheena Hatton Claremont Farm in Wirral (oils and vinegars) and Spar in Llanfyllin.

Lyn Bull Vom Fass (oils, vinegars, spirits etc) have two shops in Cardiff and Milton Keynes . The rest are franchises but not found their locations.http://www.vomfassuk.com/storelocator

 Sarah Seferi Ah there’s one in Dartford in bluewater shopping centre but that’s now call il gusto but exactly the same

Lyn Bull ‘Oil and Vinegar’ Inverness http://www.oilvinegar.com/

 Amanda Evans Holland and Barrett in St David’s 2 shopping centre in Cardiff has a lot of different varieties of refillable oil, but they don’t like you bringing your own containers I just insisted that as the bottle I already had was theirs I should be able to use it again, but they got grumpy about “hygeine issues” so I just did it anyway XD

Ruth Jennaway Went to this cafe/deli at the weekend. Lots of oils on tap.http://www.eynsham-emporium.co.uk/giftsplease

Gifts to savour | Eynsham Emporium

With stunning flavours, perfectly stored and beautifully presented our Ex-Virgin Olive Oils and Sweet…
EYNSHAM-EMPORIUM.CO.UK
Åsa PamphilonHoland andBarrer in Chelmsford. I havent yet refilled but it is clearly two different prices for their bottle and oil/vinegar or just a refill so I assume I will have no problems. Maybe I had better leave some oil in the bottle so it is clear it has been used!

More

Please share your oil buying experiences in the comments below and I will incorporate them into the post. The more detail the better!
Theres more on buying vegetable oil here
Or you could try lard!!!!
http://plasticisrubbish.com/2016/07/02/lard-dripping/
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Beer

Of course you can get beer in bottles but those metal caps have a plastic liner or small disc to prevent leakage. It’s a tiny amount but it is plastic.
Cans of beer  are plastic lined!
The only way to get plastic free booze is to use a refill service. Take your own flagon to the alehouse and get them to fill it. These are the ones I know of

Huddersfield

The Sportsman Huddersfield  will sell you your own reusable flagon. Yes its plastic but it will last you a good long time.
The Grove
The Head Of Steam ( also sells plastic flagons)
All sell great real ales and very reasonable priced. 

Magic Rock sell metal reusable flagons. Very stylish! Also sells  great real ales but they are more expensive.

If anyone else knows of other beer refill options please leave a comment below… many thanks.

London

Hi Kate, I have been out and about in Kentish Town again  A review of Clapton Craft – refill beers and wines. https://arefugefordaffodils.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/green-shopping-in-london-clapton-craft-in-kentish-town/

You can find other plastic free beverages here…

Give Me Tap – water bottle, water refill & water aid

We are a social enterprise committed to improving water accessibility in the UK, Africa and the World through our reusable stainless steel water bottles and free water network.
.
Plastic Challenge – We have built a network of cafes and shops where people can get free tap water refills on the go, for free. We have helped save around 2 million plastic bottles from going to landfill so far as consumers do not have to buy bottled water when out and about.
.
We are committed to making water more accessible for everyone. Through our network of cafes and shops in 40 cities, we can give people with our GiveMeTap bottle access to free tap water refills on the go. This reduces plastic waste and saves people money every day. Furthermore, for every bottle purchased, we can give someone in Africa access to clean, safe, drinking water through our water boreholes and wells. We like to think of this as Water for You, Water for Everyone.
.
Links – twitter – facebook
http://www.givemetap.co.uk
http://blog.givemetap.co.uk/
facebook.com/givemetap
twitter – @givemetap
pinterest.com/givemetap

A bit more…

This post was written by the contributor. It is a PfU.K. Directory submission.

And the Pf U.K. Directory is…?

…a directory of UK-based groups, organisations businesses and individuals who are responding to the problems presented by the misuse of plastic. That does not mean anti-plastic necessarily but certainly plastic-problem aware.

The DIRECTORY is to promote their fantastic work. Read more here…

Got a project?
It is very easy to get a project featured. Each contributor submits a short synopsis of their project, focussing on the plastic aware element and I post it. You can read the submission guidelines here.

 

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Bath, Love Tap Water Refill Scheme

A new water refill scheme based in Bath. The following has been taken from their website…

water fountain

 

Two local women want to bring drinking water to the streets of Bath. Love Tap Water not for profit organisation  that wants to make Bath the “first city in the UK to offer its residents and visitors a fully sustainable way to drink water on the go”

It’s water fountains funded by the sale of stainless steel water bottles as designed by Sir James Dyson for the Love Tap Water campaign;

Find out more from their

website  Love Tap Water