Trying to figure out why everyone wasn't just using refillables, we found several significant factors actively blocking this habit change.
1. High Costs on Installing New Fountains
Many venues lack sufficient refill infrastructure - their fountains are either few and far between, not easily accessible, or not fit for purpose. For example, some fountains’ design might allow for drinking from the tap but not for refilling a water bottle. However, installing new fountains requires a financial investment that is not always available.
2. Invisibility of Existing Fountains
The gaps in infrastructure are exacerbated by existing fountains being installed in out of the way places where they are very easy to miss. This means often only the truly determined know their whereabouts and use them.
3. Context Constraints
Different venues have different needs and require context specific solutions. The Natural History Museum, for example, is a grade I listed building and cannot take changes easily. Lord’s Cricket Ground on the other hand, has massive crowds that often move together during breaks, also creating challenges.
4. Misconceptions about Tap Water
Tap water has a bad reputation. In contrast to mineral water, which has vast advertising budgets extolling it, tap water has no one selling the public on its merits. Some tourists might even be understandably wary of tap water if it is unsafe in their home country. They might not be aware that tap water in the UK is strictly monitored, and not only that, it has to adhere to a standard of regulation which mineral water is exempt from.
5. Reliance on Revenue from Water Bottles
Some venues might have gotten used to the steady revenue stream generated from plastic water bottle sales. In such cases, even if they are motivated to reduce plastic waste, their agenda might be conflicted.