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Anti-plastic pollution app celebrates landmark

A Bristol tech start-up is celebrating the success of an app it created to stem the use of single-use plastics in the UK.

City to Sea has announced that its Refill app, which points people to free places where they can refill their water bottle, has been downloaded 250,000 times.

Launched in 2016, the app allows people to search for the thousands of local businesses, transport hubs and public spaces where they can refill their water bottle for free. Venues who want to take part can also sign up to the app and place a ‘Refill’ sticker in their window to alert passers-by that they’re welcome to fill up there.

The start-up estimates the app will have saved more than 100 million single-use plastic bottles from entering our waste stream by the end of this year.

The app was created after a successful trial in Bristol, when more than 200 locations across the city signed up in 2015. The campaign now has 25,000 locations signed up throughout the UK, as well as nearly 300 community schemes to help spread the word about the initiative.

Lanie Sibley, Refill app, Digital Product Manager at City to Sea, said:

What started out as a local Bristol campaign has now grown to become an internationally used app for people looking to refill their water bottle over buying a plastic bottle.

The use of single plastics has caught the attention of the public eye in recent years following high-profile documentaries such as David Attenborough’s Blue Planet. The European Union has committed to banning single use plastics by 2021 but the impact on the marine line is expected to continue long after the ban comes into place.