Penzance Joins the Refill Revolution

28th May 2021 in Environment, Penzance

A new community refill scheme has launched in Penzance to help locals and visitors avoid single use plastic and support local high street businesses.

Refill Penzance launched this May, to give locals and visitors to Penzance an easy and immediate way to avoid single-use plastic.

The collaboration between Plastic Free Penzance, Sustainable PZ and Penzance Council came about after queries to Plastic Free Penzance asking why there wasn’t a dedicated Refill Shop in the town where people could do the weekly shop, and as the existing community water refill scheme looked to expand to public water fountains.

Community Lead at Plastic Free PZ, Rachel Yates, said:

“At first we thought: ‘Yes, why isn’t there a trendy refill shop? Of all the places there should be one, surely Penzance is it?’ Then we thought again and realised that there isn’t a dedicated refill shop because the town already had refill covered … and has done for years.

“We have so many independent businesses in town who offer refills – from water and takeaway coffee to cleaning products, health & beauty and food shop essentials. We realised the job wasn’t to focus on bringing a new refill shop to Penzance, but to simply shout about and support the businesses we already have.”

The plans for a campaign to raise awareness and support local businesses offering refill coincided with the national Refill App widening its remit to include things like weekly essentials and takeaways. So the team decided it made sense link up and get more PZ businesses on the global app, with the intention again that the can be more easily found by locals and visitors.

Funding from Penzance Council has also enabled awareness raising through local posters and window cards, a social media campaign and an upgrade to the interactive map & business directory on the Sustainable PZ and Plastic Free PZ websites to maximise visibility. The scheme is a continuation of both of those organisations’ work to help protect the environment and enable people to live in a less impactful way, while supporting the local economy.

Penzance Town Mayor, Cllr Jonathan How, said: “Penzance Council unanimously declared a Climate Emergency in April 2019 and is committed to leading change in our local community for a more sustainable parish for the future.

“Plastic is threatening the world’s oceans and sea life, and we have all seen the on-going issue of single use plastic (SUP) water bottles as they repeatedly wash up on our local beaches.

“But this is about more than just plastic. The Refill Penzance Scheme will bring together and promote all the businesses in the town centre who are already offering refills to make it more visible and accessible to locals and visitors alike.”

Person using a refill water bottle
Simple swaps like choosing a reusable water bottle can really help make a difference (Photo: Plastic Free Penzance)

Here’s how it works:

  1. Check out the Refill PZ map to see businesses involved and what’s on offer
  2. Download the Refill App to search on the fly. You can use it across the rest of the UK (in fact the world) to find refill locations
  3. Look out for window cards and posters in shops to indicate they offer refill
  4. Choose to refill water and coffee instead of using single-use bottles and cups
  5. Switch up the weekly shop and buy goods on refill instead of single-use wrapped
  6. Check out the wider Plastic Free Champion Business Directory to see where else you can shop in PZ to reduce plastic
  7. Spread the word to friends and family

The Refill PZ launch comes as work to bring public water fountains to the town picks up pace. In addition to public points being made available at Jubilee Pool and PZ Sailing Club, Plastic Free Penzance have also been liaising with local organisation ‘Our Only World’ to support a funding bid to bring a water fountains made from recycled ghost fishing gear to the town. Humphry Davy School registered an interest and are now talking with the charity to get the outdoor refill point installed for pupils.

Penzance Council has also agreed, alongside supporting the community refill scheme, to scope out public water fountains on its property, which could possibly see points installed in places like Penlee Park and the Skate Park.

Claire Whitton from Sustainable PZ said:

“Refill is the ultimate action we can take to tackle on plastic pollution and the growing waste mountain. We cannot beach or street clean our way out of the problem. Recycling is a great first step but it doesn’t tackle the root cause either and uses massive resources, with lots of materials difficult or impossible to recycle still.

“Refill solves the problem of plastic pollution and other waste at source. If we don’t use single-use items and packaging in the first place, we don’t have to get rid of them.”

If your business would like to join the scheme please email [email protected]

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