A Preston social enterprise has become the first venue in the city to become a Refill Cafe.
The Larder in Lancaster Road is now offering free tap water refills to anyone who comes in with a reusable bottle or flask.
The idea is part of the national Refill campaign, which aimed to stop millions of single-use plastic bottles at source each year, preventing plastic pollution from entering rivers and sea.
In the UK, less than 30 per cent of people refill their reusable water bottles, even though we have some of the best quality tap water in the world.
Kay Johnson, who runs The Larder, decided to make the move after chatting to members of the Surfers Against Sewage campaign.
She said: “The idea is to persuade people not to buy bottles of water. Instead, if they have a flask or a reusable bottle, when they’re passing here, we will fill it up with tap water for free.
“It’s free and easy and hopefully it will encourage people to think about single use plastics.”
She added: “We’ve been doing a lot of work in the last five years about food waste, but also about packaging waste.
“We put on a lot of events aimed at using ingredients that people might normally have thrown away.
“Also, we’re encouraging less packaging waste. It’s about doing the simple things like not using loads of plastic bags and not buying heavily packaged things.
“We don’t sell bottled water here, and it’s every day things like refilling a bottle that are easy to do.
“We’ve found that people don’t do things because they don’t know about them. When they know about reusing things, they want to do it.
“It’s all about gently trying to encourage people to think about what they are using and what they are contributing to land fill.”
More than 20,000 businesses and organisations nationwide have signed up to the initiative, with people able to find their nearest participating cafe by using the Refill App.
According to the Environmental Audit Committee consumption of bottled water has doubled over the last 15 years, with over 7 billion plastic water bottles used each year in the UK.
Refill states that 73 per cent of the British population are concerned about plastic pollution, and if just one in 10 Brits refilled once a week, there would be a saving of around 340 million plastic bottles a year.
>>>Get the app by clicking here