How often do you get to the bottom of your water bottle when you’re out and about, and have to choose between going thirsty or buying another single-use plastic bottle?

Thankfully there’s now a better option. Just pop into a business who is part of the National Refill Scheme and they will top up your water bottle for free! Whether you are a business interested in reducing plastic waste by joining the scheme, or a member of the public looking for a water top-up, read on to find out how the refill revolution will benefit you.

Our blue planet

Less than 30 per cent of us currently drink tap water from a reusable bottle. This leads to 7.7 billion plastic bottles being used in the UK every year, with almost half of these not being recycled.

We are lucky to live in a country with abundant, clean drinking water that we can get straight from the tap. Evidence shows that Scottish tap water is just as tasty, and healthier and safer than bottled water to boot! 

Get ready to Refill

The Refill app, which marks businesses taking part in the scheme, has been downloaded over 80,000 times since launching in 2016. There are now over 16,000 Refill stations across the UK.

With that many stations, staying hydrated and reducing your plastic use while you are out and about is easier than you might think. Start by downloading the Refill app to find your nearest Refill Station, or look out for the Refill sticker in shop windows.

If your business or organisation would like to be part of the scheme, simply download the app and register to be a Refill Station. Your business will then feature on the map, and you will be sent a sticker to display in your window. It’s a great way to engage your local community, increase footfall, and create new loyal customers. Filling up water bottles for customers is cheap too: 30 to 40 water bottle refills are the equivalent of one toilet flush.

Taps ‘oan in Leith!

Leith businesses are invited to join the Refill scheme as part of the Zero Waste Leith Business Charter, which launched in August 2018. Already, near half of the Charter's members are signed up to be Refill stations. 

Boda Bar on Leith Walk and Sofi’s Bar on Henderson Street, both Zero Waste Leith charter members, are giving out free tap water as part of the Refill scheme:

"We have offered the free bottle system for many years and our regulars like it. We would welcome everyone to come in and get a free refill and a nice chat! "

- Anna, Boda Bar

Thirsty? Here’s our Refill tap tips

  • Carry a reusable water bottle – just like with reusable bags, keep a bottle in the bag you use daily, at your place of work, in the car/bike and in your sports locker
  • Download the app to find your nearest free water station
  • Log your refills. Every time you do, 13p will be donated to City to Sea which will help expand Refill further
  • Look out for the Refill Logo in local shops and help us turn over a new Leith.


Get your business involved

  • Download the app and sign up to be a Refill Station
  • Display the sticker in your window
  • Encourage your customers to take part