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A pret manger
Pret A Manger has installed water fountains in 250 branches for anyone to use
One in five people feel uncomfortable asking a staff member to refill their water bottle even when they have made a purchase
Pret A Manger has installed water fountains in 250 of its stores that anyone can use, regardless of whether they are a customer.
The sandwich-shop chain said it wanted to encourage customers and passersby to top up a refillable bottle instead of purchasing a new one when they’re on the go in order to help curb plastic waste.
It hopes the self-service water fountains will help to “remove the barrier” of asking for a refill, which may lead to people either purchasing a new bottle unnecessarily or simply going thirsty.
Too shy to ask staff
Over one third (34 per cent) of people polled admitted they felt uncomfortable asking a staff member in a restaurant or café to refill their water bottle when they had not made a purchase, according to research commissioned by the Refill, an app that provides directions to free water fountains.
One in five (19 per cent) of respondents felt this way even when they had bought something.
Changing consumer behaviour
“Although we already offered drinking water on request at all of our shops, we know that behaviour is most likely to change if we can enable people to fill up themselves, rather than having to ask a team member at the counter,” said Laura Gutowski, Pret’s director of strategy and sustainability.
“We have installed filtered water fountains in all of our shops with enough space…The fountains are easy to spot, and we want everyone – not just Pret customers – to feel able to come in and fill up for free without hesitation,” she added.
Other brands should follow Pret’s lead
Elena Polisano, plastics campaigner for Greenpeace UK, praised Pret for introducing the fountains.
“The UK goes through a staggering 7.7 billion plastic bottles of water each year, and many of those will end up polluting our rivers, beaches and seas,” Ms Polisano said.
“Replacing single-use plastics with reusable alternatives is key to preventing this. It’s good to see more businesses installing free water refill points that help customers quench their thirst plastic-free.”
Sian Sutherland, co-founder of the campaigning group A Plastic Planet said: “Pret a Manger are showing exactly the kind of forward thinking that we need other iconic brands to be doing to stop the devastating impact of plastic…We strongly urge major organisations to follow Pret a Manger’s lead and take real action to curb our use of plastic.”
Cutting plastic bottle usage
Pret claimed that if each water fountain is used just 10 times per day, this will prevent “around one million plastic bottles” from being churned out every year.
In 2018 Pret operated 381 stores across the UK, with the majority based in London.
Last year the chain agreed to list all ingredients, including allergens, on its freshly made products following the death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in 2016. Ms Ednan-Laperouse, 15, went into cardiac arrest after eating a Pret baguette containing sesame, which she was allergic to.
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SOURCE: http://inews.co.uk/news/consumer/pret-a-manger-water-fountains-free-for-anyone-to-use/A pret manger – Video