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Melbourne businesses tackle plastic waste through free tap water refills

Melbourne businesses are pledging to offer free tap water to customers and thirsty locals, in a bid to tackle the environmental impact of single-use plastic bottled water.

From today, locals will be able to walk into any business displaying a “Refillers Welcome” sticker and refill their drink bottle for free.

Iconic businesses like the Northcote Social Club, the Westgarth Cinema and café Barry, join more than 40 cafés, bars and businesses across Northcote, Thornbury, Brunswick and Preston that have all signed up to the Yarra Valley Water and Choose Tap initiative.

The “Refillers Welcome” movement was developed by Choose Tap as part of its mission to get Australians to ditch the plastic and make the switch to tap water.

Venue Manager at the Northcote Social Club, Emily Ferris said she sees the program as an opportunity to help her customers reduce their environmental footprint.

“We’re constantly on the hunt for great new ways to become more environmentally friendly.

“With this initiative making people more aware and helping them to ditch their single-use plastics, it’s a win for all,” Ms Ferris said.

Owner of Brunswick café Project 281, Connell McGrath said he sees this as an easy way for his customers to cut back on plastic waste.

“We do our best to involve ourselves in practices that can minimise our environmental impact. This one was a no-brainer.

“Many of our regular customers are very eco-conscious. This initiative will surely resonate with them too,” Mr McGrath said.

Locals can keep an eye out for the sticker or head online to choosetap.com.au and use the tap finder map to discover nearby refill points.

With the average Australian accumulating 130kg of plastic waste each year, and only around 20 per cent of this being recycled, Australians are increasingly looking at ways to reduce their impact.

Yarra Valley Water Managing Director and Choose Tap Advocate, Pat McCafferty says ditching bottled water and drinking tap instead is a great place to start.

“Australians spend more than $736 million on bottled water each year, making it one of the most common and expensive single-use purchases in the country.

“By allowing people to refill their drink bottle, businesses are giving their customers an option that is not only convenient, but also cheaper and more environmentally friendly,” Mr McCafferty said.

Choose Tap is a national partnership of water retailers, started by Yarra Valley Water to achieve better outcomes for communities and the environment.