Scottish Water taps into citizens’ thirst for sustainability

Scottish Water

A network of public drinking water top-up taps installed by Scottish Water across Scotland has saved the equivalent of 250,000 plastic bottles and is being expanded to 70 more locations.

A network of public drinking water top-up taps installed by Scottish Water across Scotland has saved the equivalent of 250,000 plastic bottles.

The go-ahead has now been given for more refillable points to be installed across the country at 70 locations throughout Scotland – including in Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Highlands – by March 2021.

High-tech stations

Each of the distinctive, blue, high-tech water stations is plumbed directly into the public water supply and each has digital tracking technology which logs how much water is being used and how much plastic potentially saved.

So far with 26 taps up and running, more than 82,000 litres of water have been dispensed at the touch of a button into refillable bottles. It adds up to the same as 250,000 330ml-sized plastic bottles.

The latest Top up Tap to be added to the roll-out programme is in Leith Links in Edinburgh, where city council leader Adam McVey was on hand to be the first to sample the water.

Edinburgh is also to benefit from a further four tap installations to be sited at Portobello, Royal Mile, West End and Grassmarket. Similar plans are underway in Glasgow for five taps in various locations around the city. Locations elsewhere across Scotland are also being actively progressed.

“These five new Top Up Taps across the city will help all of us cut down on single-use plastic and it’s encouraging to hear how well the existing taps have already been used,” said McVey.

“The council has a strong commitment to reduce plastic in the capital and expanding the number of points people can refill their own bottles will help us eradicate the use of disposable plastic and ultimately tackle climate change in our city. These taps make it even easier for us to stay hydrated in a sustainable way when we’re out and about and I know Edinburgh residents will continue to make great use of the new taps once installed.

“Access to drinking water refilling points is an issue I’ve personally raised with Scottish Water and I’m delighted it has been so engaged in helping Edinburgers do their bit to contribute to a green future for our city.”

The Top up Taps are part of Scottish Water’s Your Water Your Life campaign which aims to encourage people to top up from the tap to benefit the planet, their health and their pocket.

“There’s a growing appetite from the public to fill up their reusable bottles, and in these changing times it is more important than ever to take a refillable bottle with you and have your own fresh, clear water while you’re on the go,” said Brian Lironi, director of corporate affairs at Scottish Water.

The first of the taps was installed in Edinburgh outside the Scottish Parliament exactly two years ago. Since then taps have been turned on from Shetland to the Scottish Borders. The most popular tap of those currently installed is on Glasgow’s Buchanan Street with taps serving both ends of the West Highland Way, at Milngavie and Fort William, also proving to be highly popular.

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said long-term initiatives such as Top up Taps are essential in helping to tackle our throwaway culture and in encouraging people to reduce and reuse.

She added: “Single-use plastic products are not only wasteful but generate unnecessary litter that blights our beautiful beaches and green spaces while threatening our wildlife on land and at sea.”


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