Refill Ireland

Preventing plastic bottle waste by making free tap water easily obtainable

5 Step Guide to

Refill Ireland

Overview


Refill Ireland "Here at Refill Ireland we want to help you refill your reusable water bottle on the go, and inspire your community to Take Back the Tap! Be a part of the movement to reduce plastic waste across Ireland. We can't wait to have you onboard!" - Barry O'Connor and Katie Mahon, Refill Ireland

5 Steps

Who? Someone who...

Resource Checklist

Time

A couple of hours a week will get you started and then you can talk to local businesses as you happen to call in or walk by.


Get Started

Make a Personal Commitment

When starting any community project, the first step always starts with you! Will you commit to not buying plastic water bottles anymore? Maybe you've already done this and now you want to spread the word to everyone? Not only are you helping the environment and reducing the amount of single use plastic that ends up on our beaches but you also save yourself quite a lot of money so it really is a win win!

There are lots of options when it comes to sourcing more environmentally friendly ways to drink water, if you need a long-lasting plastic free bottle check out the refill.ie shop here where you can buy a bottle and they're all sold at cost price!

Bottle

Don't be afraid to share your commitment with family and friends, let them know why you've decided to stop buying plastic water bottles and let them know of all the benefits, both environmental and the difference it can make to your pocket! Spread the word on social media


Map out Local Businesses

Make a plan to speak to as many local businesses as possible. You might want to start with the ones you know will be an easy sell, the ones you know well or go to all the time. It doesn't have to be just cafés and restaurants, although they are probably the natural place to start! In Tramore, the first town in Ireland to become a Refill town, Ann went to the dry cleaner, the library, the barber, the pharmacy. They recognised that everyone who has a water tap can become a Refiller and part of the local movement that reduces single-use plastic.

Depending on the size of your town or village, you might want to split the businesses between different members of your team or get started on one street / in one area of the town. It's always good to set yourself a goal, so maybe start with getting the first ten businesses on board and go from there. Once you begin to build momentum, it'll keep getting easier as businesses will really want to be involved when they see that all the other local businesses are already involved.


Talk to Local Business Owners

Once you have a plan and you've set a goal, it's time to start having conversations with local business owners. For Ann in Tramore, this wasn’t a hard pitch at all. For most businesses, they were happy to be part of a positive local initiative and proud to show the sticker in their window and let their customers know that they care about the environment and were willing to take this simple step to

"When talking to local businesses, I have to say most people had a great attitude and interest in the environment and they are ready for change. The damage plastic is causing to our seas, wildlife and environment is on the news and in the papers most days so people are very aware of what’s happening and they want to do their bit. The response overall was really positive."

In terms of the concerns that businesses might have, obviously cost is always the big one. The cost of water varies slightly across the country, but In Dublin (which would be a little higher than a lot of other places in Ireland), the cost is €1.16 per 1,000 litres of water meaning that the cost to a business of providing refills would be really really low. By having a Refill sticker in their window, it's also very likely that more people will come into their business and buy other things while getting their bottle refilled so it's a win win!

Another concern that businesses might have is that they will be inundated with people queuing up to get their water bottles filled. Depending on the population and the number of businesses, this is pretty unlikely and something that can be tackled if it arises.

Here's Ann's take on it:

"The math for a community is simple here. The more businesses sign up, the more the service of refilling bottles will be shared and hopefully, no one needs to worry about queues of people waiting to fill their water bottles. In any case, this would be a dream scenario in some ways, demonstrating that people are changing their behaviours on a big scale, and would put pressure on local authorities to provide more public refill taps!"

The final thing raised by businesses was their concern about the water quality running through their old pipes - was it safe and of high enough quality to give out to people. In general, the water quality of Irish tap water is one of the best in the world but if a business has any concerns they can which allows you to check the exact quality of the drinking water in your area and confirm that it's safe for consumption.

Remember, it's all about momentum. Once you have a few businesses signed up, many others will jump straight on board.

Once you've had a conversation with the business owner and they're happy to be on board, give them their sticker so that they can proudly display it in their window for everyone to see.


Update the Map

Once you have businesses on board, it's important to make sure they appear on the national Tap Map so that people know they are participating and they can call in to get their bottle refilled.

To add a business to the map, just send the name and address of the business to [email protected] and the Refill Ireland team will add it it to the ever-expanding national map. There are currently over 125 business on the and the goal is to get to 500 this year!


Continue to Build Awareness Locally

When you have businesses on board and they are displaying their stickers, it's important to continue to build awareness locally so that people avail of the free refills. You can do this in a number of ways. Social media is a really effective way of spreading the word. Ann in Tramore takes a photo of every business with their sticker once they sign up. They then share this on social media too so that all their customers and followers know that they're part of the Refill movement. Refill Ireland will also give every new business that signs up a shout out on social media and of course they'll be featured on the national map.

Continuing to build awareness around the importance of cutting down on plastic waste is also important so that people understand that every time they get their bottle refilled instead of buying a plastic one they are making a difference. There is a lot in the media, both in Ireland and internationally, about this issue and plastic water bottles are a big culprit in the pollution of our beaches and waterways. Share the stories and the facts to remind people why this is such an important issue and how their actions every day can have a meaningful impact.

Tramore businesses


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