With thousands of water bottles being disposed of each year by passengers unable to take liquids through security, the airport has installed a new water station adjacent to the main security search entrance area for bottles to be emptied and refilled after security at any of its bars, cafes and restaurants.
Tom Redfern, Environment Manager for Birmingham Airport explained, “As a conscious business, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to reduce our impact on the environment, including the waste of single use plastics.
“This new initiative allows customers to dispose of the liquids in line with security rules but keep hold of their bottles to refill with water for free once through security, helping to keep hydrated while travelling.”
Birmingham Airport becomes one of the first major UK airports to join the Refill scheme, which also provides a free to download mobile app for users to search for the nearest free refill point in their vicinity.
Water company Severn Trent, in partnership with founding organisation City to Sea, has rolled out a number of action days in major cities across the Midlands in recent months, encouraging cafés, bars and restaurants to sign up to the nationwide Refill scheme.
Chantelle O’Sullivan, a Refill scheme ambassador for Severn Trent, said: “The launch of this new water station at Birmingham Airport is great news for the environment, as well as passengers passing through the terminal. It means passengers can enjoy Severn Trent’s wonderful water by filling up their reusable water bottles for free, from bars and restaurants that have signed up to the scheme, without the worry of having to leave their drink behind once they reach security. We hope it will encourage more people travelling from the airport to keep hydrated, as well as reduce the environmental impact of plastic water bottles.
“The Refill scheme, in addition to making access to tap water easier, is a brilliant way of cutting the amount of bottles ending up in rivers, canals and landfill sites. It is estimated that the nationwide Refill Scheme will cut plastic bottle use by tens of millions each year.”
All of Birmingham Airport’s on-site café, bars and restaurants provide free water to customers on request.
Data shows that around 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought across the UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste. The average UK household uses 480 plastic bottles a year, but only recycles 270 of them.
The Refill app can be downloaded for free on Google Play or via the App Store.