Because everything we do touches the ocean.

Tackling the plastics question

Londoners are among the UK’s highest consumers of bottled water, drinking 175 bottles per person per year, and over one billion on a city level. Only ~50% of these are recycled; the rest end up as litter, often making their way into the River Thames from where they flow out to sea. Once in the ocean, these plastic bottles remain there for hundreds – if not thousands – of years.

The #OneLess campaign has been leading the charge against ocean plastic pollution since 2016, focusing on the pervasive single-use plastic water bottle. We are creating a ‘refill revolution’ in London, transforming the city into a place where single-use bottled water is a thing of the past and where ‘refilling’ rules.  

The problem: Systemic barriers to change

Back in 2016 when the #OneLess campaign launched, we undertook extensive research to understand why London currently uses so much bottled water and what is stopping us from becoming a city that refills. Through this process we uncovered a number of systemic barriers preventing a refill revolution in London.

Impact to date

#OneLess is a multi-year project that was launched in June 2016. So far, we have:

  • Diagnosed the current system of bottled water in London;
  • Identified barriers stopping London becoming a refill city;
  • Built a network of influential stakeholders taking #OneLess action;
  • Implemented monitoring and evaluation systems;
  • Established #OneLess as a leading voice in the field of marine plastic pollution policy;
  • Catalysed policy movement with the Greater London Authority, London Assembly, and UK Parliament.

We have pioneered communication materials that help #OneLess better connect people to the ocean. Early adopters have embraced #OneLess, from London Zoo to Sotheby’s, and hundreds of individuals. We have generated enormous interest and also identified interventions to tackle the key barriers to change (such as the upcoming design fellowship, and working with the Mayor’s Office to monitor and evaluate a network of refill stations).

What can you do

  1. Make a personal commitment to the ocean - pledge to go #OneLess

  2. Help your organisation or community be part of this refill revolution and go #OneLess

To go #OneLess, we ask your organisation or community to commit to the following four actions. All organisations and communities are unique, so for some taking these actions will be simple and quick; for others it will be a longer process.

  1. Stop buying, selling and using single-use plastic water bottles.
  2. Encourage and facilitate the use of refillable water bottles.
  3. Offer unrestricted access to tap/drinking water and encourage its use.
  4. Inspire others to go #OneLess and create their own refill revolutions.

Find out more on how you can do this.

3. Call for sites for the London Drinking Fountain Fund

#OneLess, the Mayor of London and MIW Water Cooler Experts are ramping up London’s refill revolution. Together, we have started a ‘drinking fountain fund’ for London, and with it, we’re installing an initial network of up to 20 drinking fountains across the capital, making it really easy for Londoners to refill on the go.

If you’re a business, a council, a land or site owner, apply here to host some of the remaining fountains.

4. Join our design fellowship to develop responses

Some of the barriers preventing London from becoming a city that refills can be solved through designing responses, such as new products or services. So, in 2018, we are launching a design fellowship to tackle these through deploying design, innovation and technology.

If you are a designer, innovator, urbanist or architect looking to use your skills to solve London’s single-use plastics problem, apply to become a #OneLess design fellow today! Applications close on the 5th June.

Project Partners

Funders