Asking policymakers to step up for reuse

This World Refill Day, we’re calling on policymakers to prioritise the transition from single-use to reuse, with an open letter 

The letter calls for a commitment to refill and reuse, asking political parties to set legally-binding, time-bound targets to accelerate the transition to reuse in the UK and to support of a robust Global Plastics Treaty. 

We’d really appreciate your support by adding your organisation to the list of signatories – see below all the supporters who already signed!  

You can pledge your support by emailing us at [email protected]  with the words “On behalf of [INSERT ORGANISATION NAME) I support legally binding reuse targets”. You can also send us a quote that we would add to this page.  

Together, let’s #StepUpForReuse to make single-use plastic pollution a thing of the past.

The letter

Subject: Political parties must act now to prevent runaway levels of plastic pollution 

Dear Leader of the Party, 

The UK’s largest plastic waste survey revealed the country throws away almost two billion pieces of plastic packaging each week. 

Whilst the UK Government has implemented some effective plastic bans, progress transitioning the country away from single-use packaging is far too slow.  

England’s Deposit Return Scheme has been delayed three times and is now due in 2027, whilst the Extended Producer Responsibility policy has seen limited implementation.  

Cutting back on single-use isn’t rocket science. Since launching, City to Sea’s Refill campaign has saved an estimated 60 million+ plastic bottles through simply connecting people with locations where they can refill their reusable water bottles. 

From retailer-led initiatives such as homecare products in pre-filled returnable packaging or in-store refills for dried goods, to brand-led initiatives such as Ecover’s refill stations, industry is trying.   

However, legislative change is vital to create a level playing field for businesses to deliver reuse and refill at scale.   

Today is World Refill Day and a general election is set. We call on all political parties to set legally-binding, time-bound targets to accelerate the transition to reuse in the UK. This includes 30 percent of packaging to be reusable by 2030, supported by a complete ban on unnecessary single-use plastic packaging and full support for a robust Global Plastics Treaty.  

We urgently need to shift away from our single-use culture to a more sustainable, circular future, with reuse and refill at the centre.   

A reusable future is possible. But we need to act now. 



The Signatories

Ocean Bottle

“By moving away from today’s throwaway culture, we can break the cycle of disposable consumption and promote a more sustainable, circular economy. This shift is crucial for preserving natural resources, fostering social well-being, and ensuring long-term environmental health” – Thalia – Impact Lead.

Greenpeace UK

“14 years of piece meal action and broken promises by the government has seen the plastics crisis to spiral out of control. Time and again they’ve given in to the interests of the plastics industry instead of taking decisive action. The public are rightly furious and want change. That’s why over 200,000 came together through The Big Plastic Count to reveal that 1.7 billion pieces of plastic are thrown away each week – and only 17% is recycled. The next government has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to turn the tide by introducing binding reuse targets in the UK and to lead on the world stage by securing a Global Plastics Treaty that cuts production.” Rudy Schulkind, political campaigner at Greenpeace UK

Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Sheffield

“Recycling alone cannot help us solve the plastic waste issue – it is challenging and encourages a throwaway culture. That is why the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures is calling for policymakers to prioritise the transition away from single-use plastics. Our Many Happy Returns research project has explored reusable packaging systems that keep packaging material in circulation for as long as possible to reduce the environmental impact of plastic. Therefore we fully support the call for an international Global Plastics Treaty, as well as introducing legally binding reuse targets in the UK.” Sarah Greenwood – Packaging Technology Expert

The University of the West of England

“The University of the West of England supports the call for a Global Plastics Treaty and international, legally binding reuse targets for the UK, because it is evident that while fantastic reuse initiatives are ongoing locally and nationally, there is a need for effective government policy to ensure producers of single use plastic and the industries which utilise these products, have a coordinated approach for reduction and elimination of unnecessary single use plastics. Without clear guidance and regulation, the systematic changes required to move to a circular economy will not be realised in sufficient time.”

Oceana UK

“For the ocean, wildlife, and our own health we must free ourselves of single-use plastic. We need to see industry pushed to start radical new pathways to producing vastly less plastic. Government must provide a framework that allows and encourages industry to create business models that are less harmful, more progressive and can really give people a sustainable way to live their lives.” Hugo Tagholm, Executive Director of Oceana UK

Dee Caffari

“Refill today for a sustainable tomorrow. Every small act of refilling reduces our impact on the planet and brings us closer to a zero-waste future.If we all do the simple things collectively, then together we will make a big impact.” Dee Caffari – World Refill Day Ambassador

Deborah Meaden

“Plastic bottles are bad news…for people and planet which is why it is so fantastic to see so many voices from across the world coming together to share the refill and reuse message.With small changes in how we consume we can make single use plastic a thing of the past so a day dedicated to looking forward to a cleaner, safer future could not be more appropriate.” Deborah Meaden – World Refill Day Ambassador


Catherine Capon

On World Refill Day, let us champion a future where single-use petro-plastics are relics of the past, and a culture of refilling and reusing thrives. For the sake of our environment, our wildlife, and our own health, we must push brands and governments to act decisively. Ignoring this crisis isn’t an option; if you’re not worried, you’re not listening.” – Catherine Capon – World Refill Day Ambassador

Jonathon Porritt

“Let’s keep this simple: ALL voluntary efforts to reduce plastic packaging at scale have failed – and are doomed to fail in the future. It is only BINDING REGULATION that will bring about that critical objective. This is far and away the most important message for World Refill Day” Jonathon Porritt – World Refill Day Ambassador

Kevin Mtai

“Every refill counts towards a cleaner, greener future. Let’s refill, not landfill.” Kevin Mtai – World Refill Day Ambassador