Join the refill revolution
Thursday 16 June is World Refill Day, and whether you are on land or on your boat, you can do your part to prevent plastic pollution by using refillable containers. Now in its second year, World Refill Day is a global campaign aiming to reduce plastic pollution by asking people to refill and reuse instead of buying new plastic items.
Why does it matter?
Up to 12 million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans every year. Not only is it unsightly – who wants to sail through piles of plastic bottles and bags? – but it also kills wildlife through entanglement, ingestion, and suffocation. And it never goes away: most plastics do not degrade, instead breaking down into ever smaller pieces – the microplastics you’ve probably seen or read about in the news.
Removing existing plastic from the oceans is a mammoth task, and, while only a small percentage of this waste comes from recreational boaters, we can all do our bit by ensuring that we are not adding to the problem.
What can I do?
One easy way to reduce plastic waste is to take a refillable drinks bottle with you wherever you go. Created as part of World Refill Day, the Refill app tells you where you can refill your drinks bottle, as well as sources of refills for all sorts of other products such as hot drinks, cleaning products and other eco-friendly solutions, and even hot and cold food.
While out on the water, the Environmental Facilities Map from The Green Blue details marinas and boat yards around the country which offer facilities including fresh water refill points, so you can top up while out on your boat. The map also displays local recycling facilities, pump-out stations, bunded washdown facilities, and many other options to help make your boating more environmentally friendly.
If your home marina offers environmental facilities and is not yet on the map, please ask them to sign up. It is a great way to help other boaters find what’s available.
You can now also buy re-fillable cleaning product containers which are not only kinder to the planet, but can also work out cheaper in the long-term. Some brands also sell concentrated versions of cleaning products that require less plastic and therefore use less on-board storage space, just add water!
Re-using old takeaway containers and batch cooking meals on-board can save energy whilst also giving a second life to an otherwise throwaway-able product. You may also want to consider the alternatives to re-fillable plastic containers such as glass bottles, recycled plastic or bamboo – a sustainable crop which can grow by over a metre a day and requires very little water.
Please also remember to secure your drinks bottle and any other loose items while sailing so they do not disappear over the side at the first large wave!
What else can I do to support World Refill Day?
Spread the word – encourage family, friends, fellow club members, and anyone else you know to refill and reuse whenever possible.
Promote yourself and your club – use the tag #WorldRefillDay on social media posts on 16th June to show the world what you’re doing.
Ask for change – if your club, or any other organisation, isn’t doing enough to support people to refill and reuse, ask them to start!
Get accredited – if your club is keen to demonstrate its commitment to reducing plastic waste, tell them about the Single-Use Plastic Free Accreditation from the Final Straw Foundation and The Green Blue.