Landsec, who own several shopping centres across the UK, has launched a ‘Refill Me’ campaign, which aims to cut the amount of single-use plastic waste generated at its sites.
They are encouraging retailers to take part in an initiative which will see them offer free refills to customers using their own bottles.
So far 149 individual stores have signed up from 92 brands including branches of Caffé Nero, Costa, Lush, McDonald’s and Pret A Manger.
The Refill Me campaign went live on August 1, initially across 12 of Landsec’s shopping centres including Bluewater, Trinity Leeds, Gunwharf Quays and Westgate Oxford.
Landsec aims to roll out the scheme across its entire portfolio of shopping centres, outlet malls and leisure parks by 2020.
Research commissioned by Landsec found consumer attitudes towards refillable bottles could be a significant barrier to reducing the prevalence of single-use plastics. It found that 59% of shoppers would feel uncomfortable asking a retailer to refill their water bottle without first making a purchase.
Tom Byrne, Sustainability Manager at Landsec, commented: ‘At Landsec, we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously.
‘When we discovered that 59% of people felt uncomfortable asking for a water refill without first making a purchase when out shopping, we were determined to help make it easier for shoppers to embrace sustainable practices.
‘Wherever customers see our window sticker, they can ask for their bottle to be refilled without feeling pressured to make a purchase or embarrassed to ask. We’re committed to rolling this scheme out right across our 17.6 million sq ft portfolio by 2020.’
The research also found that while 59% of shoppers do not currently carry a refillable bottle with them, half of all respondents would begin carrying one more often if they knew where they could refill it.
Oliver Rosevear, head of environment at Costa, added: ‘At Costa we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and playing our part to tackle the issue of plastic waste.
‘We are delighted to be joining Landsec’s Refill Me campaign and further promote the use of reusable cups and water bottles within our stores – allowing customers to refill their water bottles for free, with no purchase required.’