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Volunteers encourage community to ditch single-use plastic with Refill Brentwood scheme

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:37 13 September 2018

Volunteers Philippa Brown, Laurie Edmonds and Villene Hyam.

Volunteers Philippa Brown, Laurie Edmonds and Villene Hyam.

Villene Hyam

In the ongoing fight against plastic in a bid to help the environment, volunteers have brought the ideas of a national scheme to the borough.

Look out for this Refill Brentwood sticker!Look out for this Refill Brentwood sticker!

Philippa Brown, Laurie Edmonds and Villene Hyam have launched Refill Brentwood, working with local businesses in the area to establish Refill station, which allow residents to top up their reusable bottles with tap water free of charge.

Not only will this reduce our reliance on single-use plastic but also help to save money along the way.

Philippa said: “I have always felt a close connection to nature.

“Watching Blue Planet II, I was very shocked to see the effects of plastic pollution. I became involved with Refill after seeing on Facebook that the scheme had been launched in London, and I felt I wanted to do something locally to help improve the situation. “When I shared information about Refill with my friends on Facebook, Laurie commented, suggesting it would be great to launch the scheme in Brentwood, so here we are!”

The current Refill stations in Brentwood.The current Refill stations in Brentwood.

Refill is a national initiative led by plastic pollution campaign group City to Sea.

It’s estimated that 11,000 plastic bottles every minute are ending up in landfill or as litter rather than being recycled, according to campaign Recycle Now.

Fortunately, there are now more than 10,000 Refill stations across the UK and, with support from Essex and Suffolk Water, Recycle for Essex and the Brentwood Business Partnership, 25 of these are in the Brentwood borough.

Laurie’s journey towards using less plastic was inspired by meeting the sister of popular blogger Michelle

Cassar, who is behind the blog Plastic A Lot Less.

She said: “Michelle’s inspiring blog really opened my eyes.

“I started making small changes like carrying reusable shopping bags everywhere and getting my milk delivered in glass bottles.

“I am no saint but when I’m making buying decisions I am much more aware of the choices I make and what the consequences are.

“Getting involved with Refill in Brentwood was a no-brainer for me!”

Villene was also asked to help bring the scheme to the borough after setting up her community campaign Do Good in Brentwood last year.

She said: “I’ve always had a passion for looking after our environment, from saving wildlife to reusing and recycling more.

“It can be easy to make a little change which can have a big impact, and even my young sons automatically avoid single use plastic now.

“They turn up their noses at plastic straws and cutlery, and they were super excited to get bamboo toothbrushes recently.

“I was thrilled when Philippa and Laurie asked me to use my love of community and my social media skills to join them in launching Refill Brentwood.”

The team is continuing to bring more businesses to the scheme, supporting those who are already part of the Refill family, and encouraging residents to do the same by making use of the Refill stations in the area.

To find out more, visit Refill Brentwood’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.

If you are a business interested in signing up, email refillbrentwood@gmail.com

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