Travelling on trains without plastics has never been so easy

1 July 2024

City to Sea, the friendly team behind the award-winning Refill Campaign, shares their top tips on how we can travel with less plastic-this summer.

More people than ever are travelling by train, and more people than ever are also trying to reduce the amount of plastic they use. This summer it is easier than ever to travel without plastic. Read on to find out how.

As part of the #PlasticFreeTravel campaign, the environmental campaigning organisation, City to Sea has been working with Network Rail to have fountains installed at every one of their managed stations. This initiative has helped to save the equivalent of 3 million plastic bottles from landfill.

This is about making it easier (and cheaper) for people to try and reduce the amount of plastic they use when travelling – especially on holidays.

As Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said, "This shows that passengers share our passion to reduce single-use plastic... I'm pleased to say we're making it even easier for people using our stations to refill their bottles too." And that's the name of the game here – making it easy for you (yes you!) to travel with less plastic.

With Pret, Starbucks, Costa and so many more high street brands now signed up to the Refill app there is always going to be a Refill point close by major train stations. This means less single-use plastic purchased – and less ending up polluting our shared natural environment.

We can all do our bit by remembering to always pack a reusable water bottle into our bags. It's good for your wallet and good for the environment.

980 tonnes of mini plstic shampoo bottles are dumped every year

Sadly, not quite full steam ahead

Although a few train operating companies are looking into this, water refills are still not available on any train – so if it's a long journey you'll have to pack all the water you need to stay away from plastic bottles.

So, remember to Refill at the station before you leave.

For now, City to Sea will keep challenging UK Train Operating Companies to be the first to offer easily accessible, free tap water refills on board a train. The first one who does will make history and others would soon follow.

We can all do our bit

There is so much we can all be doing to travel with less plastic-this summer. Here are our 5 top-tips:

Download the refill app and stay hydrated

With the Refill app, it's easy for you to find your nearest Refill Station on the go! Anyone can download the free Refill app to tap into a global network of places to reduce, reuse and refill.

With 300,000 Refill stations, offering refills for water, coffee, food containers and plastic-free shopping, 400,000 app downloads and 100 million pieces of plastic avoided to date, we've proven that Refill has the power to create a wave of change and stop plastic pollution at source.

Refill App

Carry a water bottle

Water bottle

This summer make sure the first thing to go into your hand luggage is a reusable water bottle! We know people buy bottled water when they're travelling. Through social change, we're making it the norm to carry a reusable bottle, so you'll never have to buy a plastic bottle again.

Carry a reusable cup

In 2011 around 2.5 billion coffee cups were thrown away each year.

When we're holidaying, it's easy to slip out of habits like carrying our keep cups - which is why when you're travelling your plastic waste can spiral.

You can be part of the solution by taking your reusable coffee cup with you wherever you go.

Reusable travel cup

Reuse your beach toys or buy secondhand

Beach toys

In previous years, we've seen the impact of plastic waste on our UK beaches. In 2018 a shocking 600 bodyboards were abandoned on just 3 beaches in the South West of England in one month alone. Now think how many £1 plastic bucket and spade sets or novelty inflatable dinosaurs and flamingos were purchased and thrown away! It doesn't have to be like this.

If you heading to Devon and Cornwall this summer (on maybe the most beautiful train journey in the UK), then take toys to the beach and have fun, but make sure you keep hold of them and reuse them each year. This top-tip is simple – don't buy rubbish you don't need.

Say no to travel miniatures

An estimated 980 tonnes of mini-plastic shampoo bottles are being dumped by British holidaymakers each year! That's the equivalent to two-and-a-half Boeing 747s! Say no to the travel toiletries and instead of buying the super expensive and tiny bottles of shampoo and soap, take your own toiletries from home in refillable travel-sized containers. Or, if you really need to stock up then opt for plastic-free shampoo and soap bars.

We know they aren't always easy to find in shops and that's why we've set up this petition calling on the big supermarkets to stock plastic-free toiletries.

Find out more about the #PlasticFreeTravel campaign.

More about the author

Steve Hynd is a freelance journalist and the Campaigns Manager for the award-winning plastic pollution campaigning organisation, City to Sea. Read more about the City to Sea #PlasticFreeTravel campaign

More about City to Sea

City to Sea are behind the award-winning Refill Campaign, which is estimated to have prevented 100 million plastic bottles from entering our waste stream by 2019 and Switch the Stick – a campaign which successfully persuaded all major supermarkets and high street stores to #SwitchTheStick– replacing plastic stemmed cotton buds with paper.

A move which will stop over 478 tonnes of single-use, non-recyclable plastic being produced each year!

Article originally published in 2019 on ScenicRalBritain.com

 

Find out more on the City to Sea website...

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