Reducing single use plastic with drinking fountains

British firm, MIW Water Cooler Experts, is working with Thames Water and the Mayor of London to encourage people to keep hydrated on the move by refilling rather than buying bottled water.

An initial network of 100 drinking water fountains will be available across busy areas of London, starting in July.

The fountains have a bespoke eye-catching livery featuring Thames Water’s iconic water droplet, designed and manufactured by MIW in the North East of England.

The initiative is part of a campaign to help reduce single-use plastic waste with its #taptasticnotplastic campaign.

The average adult in London buys more than three plastic water bottles every week — some 175 bottles every year. In total, around 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought across the UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste.

The production of bottled water is around 500 times more carbon-intensive than tap water, and Thames Water also has more stringent quality tests – around half a million a year – than bottled brands.

The new fountains will be installed in publicly accessible areas with high footfall.

MIW will be supplying and servicing the water fountains and bottle refill stations, which are part of a new breed of super-sturdy hygienic Halsey Taylor 4400 fountains, manufactured by Elkay.

The fountains are manufactured in rust-proof high-quality marine grade stainless steel.

The vandal-resistant fountains also have freeze protection built in to cope with temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius, meaning they will be operational all year and will not need to be drained down in the British Winter.

MIW is the UK’s leading supplier for indoor and outdoor bottle refill stations, and has pledged to service and maintain the fountains for a minimum of 25 years.

MIW Water Cooler Experts is passionate about reducing single-use plastic, and helped establish the London Drinking Fountain Fund with the GLA as part of the #OneLess movement in the capital over the last year.

MIW is also behind the drinking fountains recently installed in Wembley Stadium, and those in Borough Market, London Zoo, Wimbledon Tennis Club, Heathrow Airport and many UK train stations.

MIW also previously worked with Thames Water to supply its pop-up style fountains for the BBC Country File show last summer.

Steve Spencer, chief operating officer at Thames Water said: “London’s tap water is world-class and we’re celebrating this by building a network of water fountains so it’s even more accessible to people on the move.

“Tap water is incredible value for money and just as good as bottled water, but without the plastic packaging so we want people to enjoy it by using the fountains. Together we can all drive down plastic waste from single-use water bottles, helping to care for our rivers and oceans, now and for generations to come.”

Mike Winter, managing director of MIW Water Cooler Experts said, “Thames Water supplies our capital with some of the best quality water in the world. Now busy Londoners on the move can quickly access free, great tasting, water – these latest models of outdoor fountains will refill a 500ml bottle in under 7 seconds, and are specially designed to be durable and accessible making them ideal for high traffic public areas.”