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An environmental charity has launched a scheme to allow Bristol consumers to “borrow” reusable coffee cups from one cafe and return them elsewhere when they are empty.
The pilot is being launched as part of the charity’s “Refill” campaign, which directs shoppers to sites where they can refill water bottles and shop with less plastic packaging.
City to Sea, in partnership with environmental compliance scheme Ecosurety, plans to roll out the scheme to other major UK cities in future.
TOMORROW is #WorldRefillDay 💙Let’s send a message to the world that the solutions to plastic pollution & the climate crisis are there – together we can keep our environment, oceans, cities & communities plastic-free for the future 🌍
Here are 5 actions that YOU can get involved: pic.twitter.com/a3skg3hiIf
— City to Sea (@CitytoSea_) June 15, 2022
Users will scan the cup’s barcode using City to Sea’s “Refill” app, and will then receive reminders about when and where to return the cup.
The scheme is due to be fully rolled out by autumn 2022.
Jane Martin, head of development at City to Sea, said: “Our goal is to turn the tide on single-use plastic across the city – helping to keep our streets, parks and iconic harbourside free from pollution.
“This reusable, returnable cup scheme in Bristol is designed to prevent 250,000 single-use hot drink cups from entering the waste stream every day.”
She added: “The project, launching across Bristol, will act as a pilot to better understand the most effective way to operate the system and engage the public before rolling it out in other major cities across the country in the future.”
A survey of 2,029 UK adults conducted on City to Sea’s behalf between May 25 and 27 found that 95% were concerned about single-use plastic, but 60% say they now have to prioritise the cost of groceries over any other factor due to rising costs.
Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: “Plastic pollution remains one of the primary threats that our rivers, seas and oceans face.
“This is a challenge we all have a part in rising to and it’s important we make sure that our efforts to tackle plastic pollution are affordable and accessible to the whole city.
“I would encourage coffee shops from across our city to sign up to this pilot and help us grow this campaign.
“Inaction isn’t an option and I welcome those who come with innovative ideas like this to trial them in our city.”