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Oli Guei
Oli Guei

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Introducing the Refill app - eat, drink and shop with less waste 🚰

I want to introduce you to one of my favourite apps. It’s called Refill and is available for download worldwide on iPhone and Android.

What is Refill?
Refill started as a campaign to help people live with less plastic. Users open the app to find the nearest places where they can eat, drink and shop for products without plastic packaging. You can also log your refills and see how much plastic you’ve prevented on a personal dashboard.
From a coffee on your commute to drinking water on the go or even shopping with less packaging, the Refill app puts the power to reduce plastic at your fingertips.

How does it work?
Start by installing the location-based app on your device then open it to find Refill stations within your vicinity. Refill stations are locations where you can eat, drink and shop for products that come entirely without (or with less) packaging. A Refill station can be one of the following: shops, cafes, businesses, community centres, public water fountains, transport hubs, libraries or hair salons.
Like Google Maps, Refill also allows User Generated Content (UGC). You can add your own business as a Refill station or a local business that you believe should appear on the map. The app welcomes all types of businesses such as galleries or bars. But they do not accept schools, nightclubs or places of residence.

Who’s behind the app?
The team behind this app is based in the UK as a City to Sea campaign. Their goals are to empower communities, make reusable more accessible and change behaviour.

Which Sustainable Development Goals do they support?
Refill works to support the following goals:

Responsible Consumption and Production
SDG 12 is meant to ensure good use of resources, improving energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and ensuring a better quality of life for all. The goal has 11 targets to be achieved by at least 2030 and progress toward the targets is measured using 13 indicators

Clean Water and Sanitation
The goal has eight targets to be achieved by at least 2030. Progress toward the targets will be measured by using eleven indicators. The six “outcome-oriented targets” include Safe and affordable drinking water; end open defecation and provide access to sanitation and hygiene, improve water quality, wastewater treatment and safe reuse, increase water-use efficiency and ensure freshwater supplies, implement IWRM, protect and restore water-related ecosystems.

Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 11 has 10 targets to be achieved, and this is being measured with 15 indicators. The seven “outcome targets” include Safe and affordable housing, affordable and sustainable transport systems; inclusive and sustainable urbanization; protect the world’s cultural and natural heritage; reduce the adverse effects of natural disasters; reduce the environmental impacts of cities; provide access to safe and inclusive green and public spaces.

How can you get involved?
The organisation behind the app also allows users to form local groups called Refill Schemes. These groups engage with their communities to achieve real change at local levels by encouraging people to carry reusables and use the Refill app to find places to refill. These groups have added thousands of Refill stations to the app. You can start a scheme in your part of the world if one doesn’t already exist by completing an application on the Refill website.

Discussion (4)

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emilie profile image
Emilie Scofield

Here’s my review:
I think the idea to an app for finding refill stations around town is great but the final product is not that great. First of all when you close the app and return later, for some reason it signs you out and you have to sign in again to do anything (I had to reset my password because I’d forgotten my original password 😅) If it was more user friendly I can see it becoming more popular.

When you click some buttons, it takes you out of the app which can be annoying.
There’s no notifications (which is probably a good thing) and no way to invite your friends within the app. So you have to send them the link to download it.

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Oli Guei Author

I agree with you in terms of repeatability. I think if they can embed their services into other apps like rewards/loyalty apps you get from stores, it’d be easier to nudge people with notifications and make refill locations more obvious. I also think they could have taken the Google Maps approach with their UI. When you one the app it shows your location on the map with the nearest refill stations plotted around.

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Emilie Scofield

Sounds like a good idea but I've never heard of this app. I've downloaded it to test it out.

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Oli Guei Author

Awesome, @emilie 👍 Please share your experiences with the app.