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Swap plastic bottles for reusable ones and join the 'refillution'

Published: 16 January 2020

Wai Auckland and RefillNZ are joining forces to help make tap water the most convenient choice for Aucklanders.

“We’re so lucky in Auckland to enjoy clean, great quality tap water,” says Amanda Brien, project manager and registered nutritionist at Wai Auckland.

“We need to make the most of the amazing natural resource we have at our fingertips, rather than buying bottled water or sugary drinks.”

Together, Wai Auckland and RefillNZ are on a mission to register 1000 RefillNZ Stations across Auckland by mid-2021.

“RefillNZ Stations are places people know they’re welcome to refill their reusable water bottles on the go for free, no questions asked,” Amanda Brien explains.

“They can include cafes, bars, restaurants, retailers, community facilities – anywhere that has the will and an accessible water fountain, tap, water cooler or jug. Easy!”

Auckland Council leading the way

Since mid-2019, more than 130 Auckland sites from Warkworth to Pukekohe have registered as official RefillNZ Stations, supplementing the region’s 350-plus drinking water fountains.

Among the sites are more than 50 Auckland Council facilities, including all pools and leisure centres and selected libraries. 

"We want to promote tap water as the healthy, free and environmentally-responsible first choice for people and whānau when they’re out enjoying our beautiful Auckland summer,” says Councillor Alf Filipaina, Chair of the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee.

“Taking a reusable water bottle with us and refilling when we’re on the go saves us money, prevents plastic pollution, and is a much healthier choice for our whānau and aiga (family) than sugary drinks.”

And, with a couple of weeks of summer school holidays left, what better way for children and young people to quench their thirst and curiosity for knowledge than at their local library?

“Free books, free wai, free wi-fi and a quiet, cool place away from the hot summer sun – that’s what our whānau get at Auckland Libraries. What more could a kid wish for?” says Councillor Filipaina.

Save money and the environment

Auckland Council’s General Manager Waste Solutions, Parul Sood, says supporting RefillNZ will help Aucklanders cut back on their use of single-use plastic bottles and support Auckland’s goal of achieving zero waste to landfill by 2040.  

“It’s a positive environmental choice. We encourage Aucklanders to find ways to reduce or eliminate single-use plastic from our lives.

"Being part of Wai Auckland and teaming up with RefillNZ shows our communities that we can easily go back to what we used to do – carrying a reusable water bottle, choosing tap water, and filling up on the go.”

The environmental cost of buying bottled water is significant. Single-use plastic water bottles now make up one-third of all plastic pollution in the sea and are a major contributor to global environmental damage.  On average, each Kiwi uses an estimated 168 plastic bottles annually, but only a third of them are recycled. That means around 526 million bottles are thrown away yearly.

Reusable drink bottle options

According to Live Lightly, using a reusable drink bottle instead of buying a single-use one could save 3kg of CO2 per year.

Investing in a good quality reusable drink bottle will save you money in the long term – glass or stainless steel are the safest and most earth-friendly options, but plastic reusable water bottles are more sustainable than buying and throwing out new bottles each time you’re out and about. 

Once you’ve purchased it, be sure to keep it in your bag and become a ‘refillutionary’ for those moments you need a drink on the run.

Ready to join the refillution?

To find your nearest RefillNZ Station, download the RefillNZ App for iPhone and iPad users, use the interactive map on the RefillNZ website or look for the identifying sticker on windows and doors of participating sites. 

If your local café hasn’t already signed up, try dropping a hint when you’re next waiting for coffee. 

Wai not check out AKL Paths when exercising

Thirsty while exercising in our beautiful city? We are spoiled for choice with more than 250 paths that follow the coastline, go through native bush or even up dormant volcanoes.

The AKL Paths website will help you discover new paths, while showing you drinking fountains locations so you can refill along the way.

Read more: Waste Environment

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