The world is in a plastic crisis. Publicity and awareness are at their height yet we still consume more bottled water than Coca Cola in the UK. Plastic bottles take 400 years to decompose and new research has shown that more than 90% of bottled water brands contain micro plastics, which contaminate our oceans and cities.

From shopping bags to straws, plastic lined cups and food cartons the move against various plastics has gathered pace.

So what are the alternatives to plastic bottles?

Water Fountains

100 new public water fountains have been installed across London by the mayor in a partnership with Thames Water.

The drinking water fountains will provide a free alternative to drinking high-sugar carbonated drinks, and support the Mayor’s package of measures to cut child obesity, which also include proposals to ban advertisements for unhealthy food and drinks that are high in fat, salt or sugar across the entire Transport for London (TfL) estate.

Refill Scheme

15,000 business have signed up for the new refill scheme which makes water available free of charge in cafes, restaurants and local venues. This helps keep Britain hydrated but prevents plastic pollution. By using a reusable cup.

The Refill campaign persuades businesses to sign up to a scheme allowing people to refill their water bottles on their premises rather than throw them away. Frist launched in Bristol it is now spreading across the country and a downloadable app allows you to see where you can refill.

Seaweed Pods

Over 30,000 edible drinks capsules made from seaweed were handed out to runners at the London Marathon in April in a bid to reduce plastic waste.

The marathon was the largest ever trial of Ooho capsules – biodegradable pods that can be filled with water or other beverages.

You can either consume the pods whole, or bite into them to release the liquid. Made from a seaweed-based substance, the discarded wrapping will naturally decompose in four to six weeks – roughly the same time as a piece of fruit.

Re Useable bottles

A range of start-up businesses and some of the leading bottled water companies are selling high-end re-usable bottles that can be refilled with tap water. Some of the leading brands include Oxfam, Thermos, Sistema and Chillys.

Deposit Return

Greenpeace are pushing for a depots return scheme to be launched that would give a small return to the customer for every bottle that was returned for recycling. There are a number of ways that this could work but reverse vending machines installed in supermarkets could be used to return bottles and the customer would receive either a deposit back or a store voucher. Iceland, Tesco and Co-Op are already supporting the scheme.


Milk, juice and water are all normally supplied in plastic cartons and bottles. However, the alternative could be to return to a glass bottle that can be recycled and used repeatedly. Glass is safer over time; less toxic emissions are created from glass.

100% recyclable Plastic

Scottish water brand Highland Spring has confirmed that it will make the UK’s first water bottle made with 100% recycled plastic a permanent part of its range, following a successful trial.

The lightweight bottles, which the company calls “eco bottles”, carry labelling informing customers that they are both recycled and recyclable. The only non-recycled components of the bottle are the sleeve and cap, which are both recyclable within UK infrastructure.

Awareness and marketing can do a lot to inform but there is still a gap in people who adopt a new way or changed benahviour. The only way to install change is to act now. Our world is being destroyed and a global solution is needed.

More needs to be done so why not take a look at some of the schemes which you can get involved in:


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