Free drinks now on tap in Galashiels as part of bid to cut plastic waste

Free drinks are now on tap in Galashiels as part of a nationwide campaign to cut plastic waste.

By Darin Hutson
Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 7:58 am
Borders MSP Christine Grahame unveiling a new Scottish Water top-up tap in Galashiels Market Square, one of 25 installed nationwide as part of a campaign to cut plastic waste.
Borders MSP Christine Grahame unveiling a new Scottish Water top-up tap in Galashiels Market Square, one of 25 installed nationwide as part of a campaign to cut plastic waste.

The Borders’ first refill tap has been unveiled in the town by Scottish Water to replace the old drinking fountains once widely available but long since turned off.

Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame officially switched on the tap in the town’s Market Square along with Galashiels councillor Sandy Aitchison, also Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for sustainable development.

The high-tech tap, able to digitally track water usage and record cost savings, has been installed as part of a drive by Scottish Water to encourage Scots to carry around and refill reusable bottles rather than buying and throwing away disposable ones.

Ms Grahame said “I’m delighted to see the top-up tap opening in Galashiels.

“It’s a simple idea that has real benefits. Having a publically-accessible tap for drinking water means people have a free, healthy option if they find themselves thirsty whilst out and about.”

“Importantly, it also means people are less likely to buy drinks in single-use plastic bottles which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on our local environment.”

Mr Aitchison added: “I am delighted to see the launch of the Borders’ first top-up tap in Galashiels by Scottish Water.

“It is estimated that we consume resources as if we had three planets at our disposal. This is obviously not sustainable, which is why we need to see more projects such as the top-up tap scheme to encourage less plastics to be used.

“I would encourage local people to play their part by using this new facility responsibly which, at the same time, will help our local environment.”

The tap in Galashiels is the 25th to be installed by Scottish Water nationwide, and it aims to provide another 55 by the end of March next year.

Scott Fraser, regional communities manager at Scottish Water, said: “We want all of our customers to love their tap water and to help us care for the environment that makes it available for us to use.

“This new refill tap brings a supply of clear, fresh and great-tasting drinking water right to the heart of Galashiels for people who live in and visit this beautiful, historic Borders town.

“We are urging people to get into the habit of carrying a refill bottle and filling it with Scotland’s world-class drinking water.”

Safety and cleaning measures are being put in place for the new refill taps as a response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. They include additional deep-cleaning, disinfecting and maintenance, as well as putting a special coating on the water button to stop any viruses or bacteria being absorbed.