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British public encouraged to say goodbye to pointless packaging
as award-winning campaign Refill expands.


  • The Refill campaign which has already stopped over 100 million plastic water bottles
    from entering our waste stream expands to become the world’s first dedicated app to
    help people find locations to reuse and refill.
  • The Refill app helps people find places to eat, drink and shop packaging-free.
  • Morrisons, LUSH and Costa amongst some of the brands signed up to the campaign.
  • Circular&Co. join the fight against plastic and become new official Refill Partner.

Plastic pollution campaigning organisation, City to Sea are taking the award-winning Refill campaign to the next level. From today (1st October) people will be able to use the free app to find places to refill their coffee cup, lunchbox, groceries and even cleaning products and toiletries, making it the world’s first dedicated app to helping people find where they can bring their own containers and refill – shunning single-use plastic for good. It will also highlight discounts available, rewarding consumers for reducing packaging.


Convenience at a cost

The launch of the expanded Refill campaign comes at a critical time for our planet following a tidal wave of single-use plastic in the wake of the global pandemic. It marks a gamechanging moment that paves the way for much needed action on plastic in the hospitality and retail sectors.

In 2019 research revealed that 75% of the British public bought their lunch on-the-go each day generating a mind-blowing 11 billion items of packaging waste a year – that’s a whopping 276 items per person every year!1

Packaging from take-away food and drinks is a major threat in the fight against plastic pollution and items like coffee cups and take-away containers are consistently in the top 10 items found on beaches around the world. A global report launched in August revealed that food wrappers are now the most found item on beaches around the world overtaking cigarettes for the first time2.

The pandemic has also seen many cafes and retailers temporarily stop the use of reusables and increase the use of single-use plastic, despite over 100 health experts stating reusables are perfectly safe to use3.

An estimated 1,290 tonnes of plastic could be prevented from entering the environment each year through the use of reusable food containers when purchasing takeaway food4.

The expansion of Refill to food and household goods coincides with the long-awaited ban on plastic straws, cotton buds and stirrers which also comes into force today in England.

Rebecca Burgess, CEO of City to Sea said today: “The expansion of Refill marks a positive and significant step in tackling the mountains of avoidable single-use waste created everyday. We know we can stay safe and look after the planet, and at City to Sea we want to make it easier for people to eat, drink and shop without the pointless plastic. From a coffee on your commute, to drinking water on the go, or even shopping with less packaging, Refill puts the power to reduce plastic at your fingertips.”

In addition, today City to Sea announce a new official Partner as Circular&Co. get behind the Refill scheme. Every new Refill X Circular cup sold will donate £5 to Refill.

CEO & Founder Dan Dicker at Circular & Co. said today: “We are delighted to be partnering with Refill to help champion their Refill Revolution. The days of carefree consumption are over, and now more than ever we all need to adopt a refill and reuse lifestyle. Backed by our reusables which are manufactured from waste, designed for longevity and fully recyclable, together we can close the loop and eliminate the very concept of waste.”

Circular&Co. have joined Chilly’s as a Product Partner. Chilly’s have supported City to Sea with donations from the Refill X Chilly’s Bottle since 2018, donating over £400,000 to date. They will now be adding to their Refill range with a Refill X Chilly’s Food Pot, donating £10 to City to Sea on every purchase.

Putting the power to reduce plastic in our hands

We know that public still care about plastic pollution and want to act. Research has shown 93% of the British public are still worried about plastic pollution5 more than half say they are actively trying to buy groceries that are not sold in plastic packaging6 and 75% are willing to use refill services7.

The trend for zero waste retail continues to develop exponentially. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, the public are still focused on reducing single-use plastics and calling on retailers to offer solutions, helped in no small part by the Blue Planet effect,” says Catherine Conway, founder of Unpackaged, which operates a number of refill concessions in Planet Organic and the independent sector.

Less waste living made easy

The Refill app already connects users to over 30,000 places. Along with thousands of independent businesses, including over 100 zero-waste and packaging free shops like local butchers, bakers and green-grocers, there are several leading retailers and brands involved including LUSH and Morrisons.

Steven Butts, Head of Corporate Services at Morrisons: “We know our customers want to reduce the amount of plastic they use. Being able to reuse and refill containers is a good way to do this. The Refill app is a great way to increase people’s awareness about the increasing number of opportunities to reuse.”

Forward thinking businesses can sign up as a Refill Station by registering for free on the app.

Download the free app here to find out where to fill up: https://refill.org.uk/get-the-refill-app/


Press Pack & images

For interviews and location filming please contact Emma on 07917853 647 or Jo on 07538 173211

City to Sea is a not-for-profit organisation campaigning to stop plastic pollution at source. Their award-campaigns are tackling the single-use plastic items most commonly found on our beaches and in our oceans by providing practical, solutions-focused initiatives and advocating reuse over single-use.

Refill is a multi-award-winning campaign to help people live with less plastic. We connect people to places they can eat, drink and shop without the pointless packaging.

The expanded campaign was piloted in Oxford and Bristol earlier in the year, preventing an estimated 30,000 pieces of plastic.

Refill is a City to Sea campaign. City to Sea is a not-for-profit organisation, campaigning to stop plastic pollution at source. The continued growth and development of the Refill campaign has been possible thanks to our Founding Partners Water UK and Chilly’s, and the expansion is supported by the Volvo Visionaries Award 2019 and Circular&Co.

City to Sea spearheaded the ban on plastic cotton buds with its award winning #SwitchtheStick campaign in 2016. Over 150,000 people signed their petition calling on UK retailers to switch the stick from plastic to paper and as a result the nine biggest retailers said yes, saving 478 tonnes of plastic from entering our waste streams every year.

Partner quotes:

Rae Stanton-Smithson, Earthcare Retail Lead at LUSH: “We are so excited to be able to share in the launch of City to Sea’s wonderful new app. In an increasingly ‘throw-away’ world, it is more important than ever to regenerate our ways of doing business. At LUSH we are on a journey to drive the cosmetics revolution and invite everyone to come along with us! Collaborating with organisations, such as City to Sea, to help customers easily develop lifestyles beyond just sustainability, is an important step in our vision to ‘Leave The World Lusher Than We Found It’. From naked products, to packaging innovation and recycling developments, there’s a whole host of ground-breaking initiatives we want to share with the world. Engaging people through the Refill app is a fantastic way to invite everyone to come and see what’s going on inside LUSH. Another way is possible, let’s go!”

Jack Barrie, circular economy policy analyst at Zero Waste Scotland : “Refill is a simple but effective idea that will help reduce waste. By cutting out single-use items we can take a huge stride in reducing our carbon footprint, minimising waste and addressing our consumption habit. We can all make a positive impact by doing something differently and the app will be a useful tool in addressing the climate crisis.”

1 https://www.packagingnews.co.uk/news/waste-management/lunch-go-habit-generates-billionspackaging-waste-items-14-05-2019

2 https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/annual-data-release/

3 https://storage.googleapis.com/planet4-international-stateless/2020/06/26618dd6-health-expertstatement-reusables-safety.pdf

4 https://earthwatch.org.uk/images/plastic/PlasticRiversReport.pdf

5 City to Sea Supporters Survey July 2020 n=2000

6 https://delineate.agency/blog/plastic-waste-research

7 https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/category-reports/the-rise-and-fall-bottled-water-category-report2020/603079.article