The famous Borough Market in London has installed three new drinking fountains, as the first step in its mission to become completely plastic-free. This is part of its ongoing endeavour to become the UK’s greenest place to shop.
As London’s oldest food market, Borough Market has been around for 1000 years, and has been doing everything it can to minimise its own impact on the environment for many years. It has a broader campaign to champion sustainable systems of food production and consumption. None of its rubbish goes to landfill, for example, and every piece of packaging provided by its traders, many of whom are food producers themselves, aims to be biodegradable and compostable.
To further its aim of going entirely plastic-free, its new drinking fountains will give visitors easy access to free water. Each fountain provides three streams of water – two for drinking and one for refilling water bottles. Over the next six months, sales of bottled water will be phased out, and plans are in place to produce refillable bottles made from recycled plastic, all of which will be available to buy from stalls around the market.
It’s an effort to help counteract the growing blight of single-use plastic bottles on the city’s environment, after the London Assembly published a report saying that around 7.7 billion bottles are consumed there per year and the recycling rate is very low. Discarded plastic bottles make up 10% of all litter found in the River Thames, and three-quarters of flounder swimming there were found to have ingested plastic.
“By using the new Borough Fountains, our visitors will be able to refill and refresh without having to buy a plastic bottle each time,” says managing director, Darren Henaghan. “We are proud to take this significant step forward as part of our ongoing commitment to making Borough Market Britain’s greenest place to shop, and hope that others will follow suit.”