New free plastic bottle refill scheme aims to cut back waste

We all know it's important to stay hydrated in the hot weather, but before you reach for bottled water, think about a free refill.

Cafes, bars and retailers are being encouraged to join a project which aims to improve health and keep millions of plastic bottles out of landfill.

The average Kiwi uses 168 plastic bottles each year.

Only a third are recycled. The rest - 526 million of them - end up in landfill, or the ocean.  And that's just New Zealand.

Wai Auckland and RefillNZ are on a mission to make tap water the first and easiest choice.

Amanda Brien of Wai Auckland says water is the best drink for our health and by refilling our water bottles it's best for the planet as well.

There are 600 refill stations across the country

Auckland has over 100, but the goal is to reach a thousand refill stations across the city by mid-2021.

Councils are already doing their bit, signing up libraries and leisure centres.

"We need to have a look at places where our families, our whanau, our aiga, can go to end up having a free refill," says Alf Filipaina, Manukau Ward Councillor

"Before these came along 20 years ago...we used to do this.  You can get around six-thousand glasses for the cost of a litre bottle, and officials want to see a return to tap."


The Hobsonville Larder has already signed up to the scheme.

"It was basically a no brainer, we already as a cafe provide water to our customers. I'm happy for anybody please walk in, wander in, fill up your bottles, don't use plastic," manager Jody Smith told Newshub. 

And the hope is more cafes, bars and restaurants will join the refillution.