This article was written for Scenic Britain and first published on their blog as part of City to Sea’s #PlasticFreeTravel campaign.
More people than ever are travelling by train, and more people than ever are also trying to reduce the amount of plastic they use. This summer it is easier than ever to travel without plastic. Read on to find out how.
As part of the #PlasticFreeTravel campaign, the environmental campaigning organisation, City to Sea is working with Network Rail to have fountains installed in 19 of Britain’s largest railway stations, which have already saved the equivalent of over a million plastic bottles.
This is about making it easier (and cheaper) for people to try and reduce the amount of plastic they use when travelling – especially on holidays.
As Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said, “This is a great start and shows that passengers share our passion to reduce single-use plastic… I’m pleased to say we’re making it even easier for people using our stations to refill their bottles too.” And that’s the name of the game here – making it easy for you (yes you!) to travel with less plastic.
With Pret, Starbucks, Costa and so many more high street brands now signed up to the Refill app there is always going to be a Refill point close by major train stations. This means less single-use plastic purchased – and less ending up polluting our shared natural environment.
We can all do our bit by remembering to always pack a reusable water bottle into our bags. It’s good for your wallet and good for the environment.
Sadly, not quite full steam ahead
Although a few train operating companies are looking into this, water refills are still not available on any train – so if it’s a long journey you’ll have to pack all the water you need to stay away from plastic bottles.
So, remember to Refill at the station before you leave.
For now, City to Sea will keep challenging UK Train Operating Companies to be the first to offer easily accessible, free tap water refills on board a train. The first one who does will make history and others would soon follow.
We can all do our bit
There is so much we can all be doing to travel with less plastic-this summer. Here are our 5 top-tips:
1. Download the refill app and stay hydrated
With the Refill app, it’s easy for you to find your nearest Refill Station on the go! There are now over 20,000 places to Refill your water bottle around the UK. Our aim is to have a Refill Station on every high street and every station.
2. Carry a water bottle
This summer make sure the first thing to go into your hand luggage is a reusable water bottle! We know people buy bottled water when they’re travelling. Through social change, we’re making it the norm to carry a reusable bottle, so you’ll never have to buy a plastic bottle again.
3. Carry a reusable cup
In 2011 around 2.5 billion coffee cups were thrown away each year.
When we’re holidaying, it’s easy to slip out of habits like carrying our keep cups – which is why when you’re travelling your plastic waste can spiral.
You can be part of the solution by taking your reusable coffee cup with you wherever you go.
4. Reuse your beach toys or buy secondhand
Last year, a shocking 600 bodyboards were abandoned on just 3 beaches in the South West of England in one month alone. Now think how many £1 plastic bucket and spade sets or novelty inflatable dinosaurs and flamingos were purchased and thrown away! It doesn’t have to be like this.
If you heading to Devon and Cornwall this summer (on maybe the most beautiful train journey in the UK), then take toys to the beach and have fun, but make sure you keep hold of them and reuse them each year. This top-tip is simple – don’t buy rubbish you don’t need.
5. Say no to travel miniatures
An estimated 980 tonnes of mini-plastic shampoo bottles are being dumped by British holiday each year! That’s the equivalent to two-and-a-half Boeing 747s! Say no to the travel toiletries and instead of buying the super expensive and tiny bottles of shampoo and soap, take your own toiletries from home in refillable travel-sized containers. Or, if you really need to stock up then opt for plastic-free shampoo and soap bars.
We know they aren’t always easy to find in shops and that’s why we’ve set up this petition calling on the big supermarkets to stock plastic-free toiletries.
Find out more about the #PlasticFreeTravel campaign.