Web Banner Tairawhiti

A New Year’s challenge to refill your bottle

11 Jan 2021

A New Year’s challenge to refill your bottle

L-R: Karepa Maynard, Rata Simperingham and Petra Sparks get into the swing of refilling their bottles.


This year Council is backing RefillNZ as they launch their Refill Challenge, asking people to give up your plastic bottled water and sugary drink habits for 30 days to use reusable water bottles and refill at the tap instead.

In collaboration with Tāiki e!, the YMCA and GDC summer student intern Petra Sparks, GDC has supported RefillNZ to register local refill sites, subsidising 25 local businesses to join the campaign and registering all GDC water fountains as well.

“Council wants to support 10 further local businesses to register with RefillNZ,” said Darnelle Timbs, Council’s waste minimisation facilitator.

“Participating ‘sites’ or businesses receive a RefillNZ sticker for their window to show they are a refill station where people can fill up their water bottle for free, and are registered on the RefillNZ app and website. If your business would like to join the RefillNZ campaign and help keep Tairāwhiti hydrated and reduce plastic pollution contact service@gdc.govt.nz.”

RefillNZ has a useful map on their website and you can download the app to locate where you can refill when you’re out and about in Tairāwhiti, or at one of the 2,500 sites across New Zealand. Further information available at www.refillnz.org.nz(external link)

The current Refill Challenge is run by RefillNZ, with funding from the Ministry for the Environment Waste Minimisation Fund. Their goal is to stop the tide of single-use plastic bottles and for more people to rehydrate with tap water.

“There’s so much sense in this challenge,” Ms Timbs said.

“It takes three litres of water to produce a one-litre water bottle, so refilling your reusable bottle actually saves water, saves money, and reduces waste.

“Only one in five plastic bottles gets recycled. To reduce the impact of plastic waste in landfill and the environment we encourage refilling your reusable bottle, and there’s no shortage of taps around town which can now be located via the RefillNZ website or app.”

If you sign up to take the Refill Challenge at www.refillchallenge.org.nz(external link) you’ll be in the running for a prize, and RefillNZ will send tips, tricks and other useful information to help keep you motivated, such as an impact calculator to work out how much plastic you’ve reduced, as well as how much sugar you’ve avoided.

“This is a fun way to get on board, and you could even make a permanent switch to refills and reusables,” Ms Timbs said.