The app is out!

Refilling your water bottle has never been this easy! With the Refill My Bottle app you can find out in an instant where the nearest refill station is located, and you can keep drinking clean and safe water without buying plastic bottles. How does it work? We had Daisy and Patrick of the Impact Travelers test out the app for us.

How it started

Alex Tsuk, originally from France, had been worried about environmental perseveration for years before deciding to move to Bali to work on creating a greener island, and a greener world.

“I chose Bali because I believed I could have the greatest impact here. The island has a major plastic waste problem. Every month 6 million single use plastic bottles are used here. At the same time, tourism is well developed here and there are many opportunities for tackling this issue. The big question is: how can tourists safely drink water without using polluting single use plastic bottles?”

The solution

The answer was so simple that it makes Alex laugh: “All over the island there are places where you can refill your bottle. It’s just that tourists don’t know how to find them. That’s why we’ve developed an app that lets you see exactly where you can refill your water bottle. As simple as that!”

How it works

Armed with our Dopper Insulated and a mobile phone we go off exploring. We downloaded the Refill My Bottle app for free and made a short cut on our start screen. In the middle of a busy intersection in the popular coastal town of Canggu, Bali, I drink the last drops from our refillable bottle. It’s boiling hot and the travel advice is: drink lots of water. High time for a refill. The app displays a map similar to that of Google Maps, and displays small squares with images of water drops all around me.

Free refills

At the bottom of the screen, the app shows me the nearest Refill locations, including a name and photo. ‘Gelato Secrets’ is the first, not even 100 meters from where we are. Clicking on the photo displays some general information about the location, like opening times and address. But more importantly, it shows me if I can refill my bottle for free, or pay a small fee. Refilling is free at this small ice cream shop. Almost free… Patrick can’t resist the temptation. “Since we’re here already…,” he explains, paying for 2 scoops of sorbet ice cream.

Earn points

Immediately I recognize the Refill logo next to the cash register. I point to it and ask if I can refill my bottle. “Of course!,”  I’m told, with a big smile. While the friendly shop keep refills my bottle, I press the “refill here” button on my app. 10 POINTS appears in big letters across the screen. “You’ve earned 10 points for not buying a plastic bottle!”. Free points, always fun. But what I can do with them? By clicking on the “Impact” button, I get so see an overview of the number of bottles I’ve saved. With a swipe to the right I can see my total score and what it can get me. For instance I can choose to spend it on a 15% discount on a cup of coffee in a nearby café.

No more feeling awkward

We’ve been travelling for 17 months through Asia and have tried to buy as few plastic bottles as possible along the way. Even after such a long time on the road, I still feel awkward sometimes to just walk in somewhere and ask if I can refill my bottle. Luckily I’ve finally lost that feeling now. The locations listed in the app have all chosen to take part. Even if they ask for a small fee, it’s always less than a cost of a plastic bottle, and I’m more than happy to pay the few cents they’re asking.

Expanding

Refill My Bottle is a big success in Bali. But Alex’s ambitions are bigger than the small Indonesian island. “Plastic is a worldwide problem and we’re set on expansion. We’ve managed to secure partnerships with more than 900 refill-businesses in 9 different countries. Watch this space!”.

Note: Better Places is a social enterprise. We care about doing good more than we care about making a profit, and each year we donate 10% of our profits to other social enterprises or charities. We donated over USD $ 5000 to Refill My Bottle since 2017, directly contributing to the development of the app. 

Alexandre Tsuk

Alexandre Tsuk

Founder Refill My Bottle

More about plastic free travel

Read more about plastic free travel and Refill My Bottle

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