In the UK, 38.5 million plastic bottles of water are sold every day. In other words, significantly more than half of the population buys one daily. Only half of these end up being recycled. The descendants of today’s humans and fishes will still be working out what to do with the other half in 450 to 1000 years.
In an exemplary bid to reduce its own contribution to this non-biodegradable onslaught, London’s Borough Market is going to phase out the sale of all disposable water bottles over the next six months. As a very-generous-but-should-be-a-given-everywhere replacement, they are installing free water fountains with taps for both direct drinking and bottle refilling. The only bottles on sale will be swish re-usable numbers, at £2-2.50 a pop.
“We are right next to the River Thames and most of the litter found there is single use plastic bottles,” Darren Henaghan, the market’s managing director, told Packaging News. “We feel that we need to lead the way and all our traders are environmentally conscious – it’s part of the ethos of the place.”
The move comes as part of Borough Market’s plan to completely eliminate landfill waste. Although plastic food containers are currently still allowed, soon the historic venue’s 114 independent vendors will be trading with biodegradable packaging only, and composting all food waste.
Illustration by Julia Webster