One of the easiest things that you can do to help the planet is give up single-use plastic bottles and refill a reusable water bottle. Millions of plastic water bottles get thrown away each year. That’s not just bad for the planet, but for your wallet too.
Buying one reusable stainless steel water bottle will save you a lot of money in the long term. If you usually buy one bottle of water a day, then you’re already spending around €32 per month just to quench your thirst! Plastic bottles also pose several health concerns. In short, when you refill a reusable water bottle, you protect the planet, protect your health, and protect your wallet!
There’s just one common problem with reusable water bottles. If you drink enough water to stay hydrated, then you’ll need to refill your reusable water bottle on the go. But where can you refill a reusable water bottle? Is it safe to refill from public taps and fountains? And, is it free to refill?
I said goodbye to bottled water years ago and switched to an eco-friendly reusable water bottle. And, I’m happy to say that (most of the time) I can find a safe place to refill my metal water bottle on the go.
Where can I refill my reusable water bottle?
In most developed countries, tap water is filtered and safe to drink. In some countries, it’s even illegal for cafes, bars, or restaurants to refuse or charge money for tap water. That makes it easy to find a free refill point.
Most café’s, bars, and restaurants will have access to safe drinking water. Although it’s sometimes awkward to ask, many restaurants, pubs, and other food and drink venues will be happy to refill your reusable water bottle at your request. Of course, many cities are scattered with public drinking fountains too. Searching for historical or decorative water fountains is a unique way to explore a new city while travelling zero waste.
In locations where tap water is not safe to drink, there are still practical alternatives to buying a disposable bottle of water. When tap water is unclean, it’s common for hotels, food venues, businesses, offices, and official buildings to have a water cooler which is refilled with water from reusable bottles. You can ask to refill your reusable bottle whenever you spot a water cooler. If you’re worried about taking trade away from shops and restaurants in touristic locations, you can offer to pay a small amount for refilling your reusable water bottle.
Water purification tablets are a short-term solution, but a healthier option is a plastic-free water filter or filter straws. These are light enough to carry in your bag and don’t produce any plastic waste. Some water filters are biodegradable or even compostable.
Apps and websites that help you refill a reusable water bottle
If you’re new to a city and you don’t fancy a water fountain scavenger hunt, these handy apps and websites will help you find a place to refill your reusable water bottle on the go. We’ve organised this list by country, so it’s even easier for you to find a refill point in your location!
About: Choose Tap is a leading water supplier that encourages people to switch bottled water for tap water. Their website features a map with refill points across the country.
About: a list of water fountains across Bulgaria, you can open the ‘Fountains of Bulgaria’ map via google maps on a smartphone.
About: lists over 27,000 refill points. You can search for a refill point via a map on the website.
About: Water for free offers an app for android or IOS. The app lets you find places to refill a reusable water bottle, update refill point information’s, add a new refill point, or make a report.
About: a free app that shows locations in 60+ cities in India and provides walking directions to refill points. Refill points include water vending machines, drinking water fountains, and refill partners.
About: the online map displays over 1460 refill points across Ireland.
About: an app for android or IOS, it shows water fountains and refill points in cafes and restaurants. It also lets you log your refills and track the number of single-use bottles you’ve saved by refilling your reusable water bottle.
About: Refill Me is currently under development. The organisations are working with Thant Mayanmar, an environmental nonprofit, to develop a map of refill stations.
About: displays an online map of refill stations and water fountains across Switzerland.
About: this website lists over 1,600 free water taps across the Netherlands. You can download a GPX map of the fountains to your mobile and use a navigation app to find a refill point. If there’s no fountain listed in your area, you can upload one via the contact form on their website.
About: features an online refill map with over 341 venues.
About: find refill locations via a map on the website or download the app (IOS only). Refill points are marked with a Refill NZ sticker.
About: Refill My Bottle lists locations where you can refill a reusable water bottle for free or for a minimal fee. Venues should have a Refill My Bottle sticker on display, and you can download the app (IOS and Android) to find your closest refill station. Refill My Bottle is especially useful for travellers in Southeast Asia.
About: this organisation lists water refill points in Europe, Africa, Asia, South and Central America, and the USA. It’s particularly useful in Southeast Asia.
About: The app lists thousands of refill stations across the globe, including public drinking fountains, independent businesses, chain stores, chain restaurants, bars, and cafes that will let you refill your reusable water bottle free of charge. All you need to do is download, log into the app, and you’ll be able to see you closest refill stations. Refill stations are available in Australia, Chile (Santiago only), Ecuador, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxemburg, Portugal, The Netherlands, UAE, UK.
Tap: lists over 35,000 refill stations in over 30 countries. The majority of refill points are located in the USA. Android and IOS app available.
There are several reasons to buy a reusable water bottle. And, now that you know where you can refill your reusable water bottle you can ditch single-use plastics for good!