Thames Water will be working with the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan as part of a proposed three-year, £750,000 initiative to tackle plastic waste in the capital.
A new network of bottle-refill points and drinking fountains is set to be rolled out across London this year.
The mayor wants to see a reduction in the amount of single-use plastic bottles and cups, and has allocated £750,000 in his draft budget over the next three years to cut plastic waste.
This would be used to support waste reduction schemes, employ dedicated project staff and support the installations of water fountains.
Thames Water is partnering on the refill scheme and its chief executive has welcomed the initiative.
Steve Robertson, CEO of Thames Water, said: “By celebrating the quality of our tap water and making it even more accessible to our customers when they are on the move, we can drive down the millions of plastic bottles that are used once and then end up as landfill, or in our waterways, creating a better future for our region and our planet.”
Shirley Rodrigues, the deputy mayor for environment and energy, added: “We need to radically reduce our use of plastics in order to protect and preserve our environment. In London the mayor is supporting a number of ambitious schemes to help the public cut their use of plastic and access free water including delivering new water fountains on busy commuter and shopping routes, and working with businesses and retailers on water refill schemes to dramatically reduce the purchase of single use plastic bottles.”
Tap water is freely available at City Hall and the mayor would like London’s businesses also make tap water available to the public.
Khan said he will support pilots of a “refill” scheme in up to five areas of London encouraging businesses such as retail food outlets to offer customers free tap water.
The mayor’s office said if the scheme proves successful it will be rolled out across London.
City Hall officers have been tasked with “urgently reviewing” suitable sites and funding models for new water fountains in London, including Transport for London sites across busy commuter routes and in business and shopping districts. Khan has also asked developers to identify suitable locations for water fountains during the planning process in new or redeveloped public spaces.
The mayor is working with the #OneLess campaign, led by the Zoological Society of London to find sites for up 20 water fountains that will be placed across the capital in 2018.
This work is part of Khan’s ambition for London to send no biodegradable or recyclable waste to landfill by 2026.
His draft budget will be put before the London Assembly’s budget committee on Thursday (25 January).