BOTTLES & BAGS
This programme works in conjunction with Action & Awareness to reduce plastic pollution at the source
In most of Southeast Asia, it is not possible to drink the tap water. This makes it very hard to avoid buying plastic water bottles while on the go. The Trash Hero bottle refill programme seeks to reduce this pain point by providing both a safe, reusable drinks container, and the means to refill it for free.
The Trash Hero water bottle is made from food grade, unlined, 304 stainless steel. It is provided at cost price to local businesses who then sell it to customers for a small markup. This profit is used to provide free drinking water refills to anyone carrying the Trash Hero bottle.
For the customer, the bottle pays for itself within 10-20 refills (depending on the area). For the business, the scheme brings in more customers and offers the opportunity to demonstrate its green credentials.
For the environment, the benefit is clear: for each bottle sold, with one daily use for a year, 365 single use plastic bottles can be avoided. To date (end of December 2019) we have distributed 96,479 bottles, reducing the use of around 35.2 million plastic bottles.
Each business is listed on our public refill map, showing bottle owners (and others) where refills are possible. Currently we have enrolled 522 partner businesses in 45 locations across Thailand and Indonesia.
The programme works particularly well on small islands where the cost of transporting the plastic water bottles on and off the island creates an additional incentive for businesses to join the scheme.
The Trash Hero reusable shopping bag is produced in conjunction with Making Oceans Plastic Free, a social enterprise based in Indonesia. Each bag is handmade with recycled plastic fabric (rPET), using the equivalent of 2 x 500ml water bottles in its production.
The bag is foldable and comes in two versions: in a standard pouch and in a turtle plush pouch*. We distribute the bags at cost price to shops who can then offer or sell them to customers for a reasonable markup.
Reusable bags are still a fairly new concept in Southeast Asia, yet are desperately needed. The average Thai person uses at least 8 single use plastic bags each day, equating to almost 200 billion per year, whilst Singaporeans get through a staggering 13 single use bags per person per day.
Our reusable bags programme has made a small dent in that number. With around 24,700 sold until end of 2019, we estimate the use of some 9 million plastic bags have been avoided. As part of the wider conversation around plastic bag use, we have recently celebrated bans or restrictions on single use plastic bags by branches of 7-Eleven, Tesco and Central Department Store, as well as an island-wide ban on Bali.
*not made from recycled fabric.
OUR INVOLVEMENTTrash Hero GB supports this programme worldwide by:
- Monitoring and improving order processes for Bags and Bottles
- Creating PR/Marketing & Social Media materials to promote the programme
- Supporting strong countries to manage the programme independently
- Carrying out fundraising and associated reporting for the programme