Durham University becomes first in region to join ‘innovative’ plastics reduction scheme

Durham University has become the first university in the North – and one of only two across the country – to sign up to a growing environmental initiative aimed at reducing plastic waste.

The Refill campaign was launched in November 2017 by Northumbrian Water, with Durham businesses signing up to allow the public to come in and top up their water bottles, free of charge, cutting the number of single-use plastic bottles.

Starting this week at the beginning of Easter term, Durham University’s 11 public cafés will now be offering this service to the public, after signing up to become Refill Stations. This includes 10 sites in Durham City.

Durham University’s chief operating officer, Jane Robinson, said: “We all have a part to play in protecting and enhancing our natural environment for future generations.

“Signing up to the Refill campaign helps transform our commitment to improving environmental sustainability from words into meaningful actions. We hope others will do the same and support this fantastic initiative.”

Northumbrian Water has been working with the not-for-profit organisation, City To Sea, to bring Refill to the region, and more than 250 businesses – ranging from cafés and restaurants to churches – have signed up.

Heidi Mottram, chief executive of Northumbrian Water, added: “Durham University joining the Refill campaign is an exciting opportunity, not only to open more Refill Stations, but to bring the power of the student population to the forefront of this exciting environmental movement.

“We know that there is a real passion across the North East to make a difference when it comes to plastic waste, and this is particularly strong among younger people, so we are really looking forward to seeing the impact from the University’s involvement in Refill.”

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