Plastic Free Transport Hubs

Plastic-Free Travel on the go

Do you want to depart from plastic pollution this summer?

We know travel is one of the biggest barriers to us using reusable bottles and refilling on the go. Almost half of us that regularly carry a reusable water bottle say we are most likely to buy plastic bottled water when at the airport and 36% said the same thing about train stations.

This summer travel hubs from train stations to airports are helping you stay hydrated and prevent plastic pollution when you’re travelling. City to Sea is working with transport hubs like airports and train stations as part of our #PlasticFreeTravel Campaign.

#PlasticFreeTravel taking off at airports

We are delighted to have Heathrow – Europe’s busiest airport and the UK’s largest – signed up as an official partner.  The scale and potential for saving plastic from ending up as plastic pollution by working with Heathrow is huge.  If every passenger in Heathrow departures lounge refilled a bottle instead of buying a single-use plastic bottle, Heathrow could reduce its plastic bottle consumption by over 35 million bottles a year!


We have worked with Heathrow to install over 100 water fountains across the airport. They are signposted and located near toilets for anyone to fill up their water bottles. We’re working with Heathrow to make sure all these fountains can be found on our Refill app!

Not only this, but we’re also engaging with their many cafes, restaurants and lounges to encourage them to be listed on the app and proudly showing the Refill sticker where possible. Anywhere in Heathrow, if you’ve got the bottle, you can Refill it.

But there is still more (much more) to be done.  Raising awareness that you can take an empty bottle through airport security and, usually, refill it at the other end. And we are working with Heathrow to improve their signage and communications to make sure that all Refill points – and drainage points – are clearly signposted.

During our #PlasticFreeTravel campaign this summer we are reaching out to airports up and down the country looking to challenge them to pledge to help their passengers cut out plastics. Simply we are asking airports to:

  1. Provide an empty sink before security, so passengers can empty their water bottles before goign through.
  2. Promote the fact that reusable bottles can be taken through security, through avenues such as signage before security, and working with ticketing and travel companies to prompt passengers to pack their reusable water bottle at the same time as reminding them to check-in online.
  3. Install water fountains or hydration stations around the terminals where passengers can easily and quickly find free drinking water.

To this end, City to Sea will be hosting a roundtable event alongside the Airport Operators Association and the Department for Transport, providing a best practice guidance so all airports can find out how easy it is to roll out the Refill Campaign. The rountable will be held on the 10th September 2019.

This summer, if you do fly (we strongly encourage you not to!) then make sure your water bottle is the first thing you pack into your hand luggage.

Reducing plastic waste at train stations is on track

City to Sea is working with Network Rail to have fountains installed in 19 of Britain’s largest railway stations, which have already saved the equivalent of over a million plastic bottles.

We’re pretty excited about this. And as Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said, “This is a great start and 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 Refill there is always going to be a Refill point close by major train stations.

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 I’m afraid 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.

#PlasticFreeTravel campaign

Our #PlasticFreeTravel campaign this summer is demanding every station in the top 100 to have a place to Refill your water bottles and have these logged on the Refill app by April 2020. This is why City to Sea has partnered with Sustain (Sugarsmart campaign) to put together the Drinking Water Fountains ‘How To’ guide, which is the first comprehensive guidance of its kind specifically for the UK.

In addition, we’re challenging a UK Train Operating Company to be the first to offer easily accessible, free tap water refills on board a train. Watch this space and all aboard the #PlasticFreeTravel #RefillRevolution!

Please follow and like us:
error