Bottled water charity commits to plastic-free future despite threat to its income

May 26, 2017

Bristol charity FRANK Water has become the UK’s first bottled water company to stop selling single-use plastic bottles and switch to 100% environmentally sustainable alternatives – even though it expects it to reduce its income.

To replace its polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, the social enterprise has launched a #PledgeToRefill campaign, which calls on all consumers to carry a refillable water bottle with them to stay hydrated.

FRANK was set up 12 years ago to fund access to safe drinking water in India by selling bottled water in the UK. But with increasing concern over the damage caused by the ever-growing number of discarded single-use plastic bottles – particularly their impact on marine wildlife – the charity decided to act end its use of the bottles.

It will continue to sell water in glass bottles, which are made from 32% recycled material, are 100% recyclable and can be reused indefinitely.

Stockists are also being offered alternative ways of supporting FRANK Water, including refills and refillable bottles.

FRANK Water founder and chief executive Katie Alcott, pictured below with the #PledgeToRefill refillable bottle and cup, said: “This decision will undoubtedly hit our bottom line this year, and for years to come. But we are committed to being as ethical and environmentally sustainable as possible while continuing to fund safe, clean water projects in our partner regions in India and more recently Nepal.

“It feels like the right time to be doing it but we know we’re small fry when compared to the bigger fish in the single-use plastic ocean. Let’s hope our announcement is the first drop that is needed to create a ripple effect on a much larger scale in the coming months and years.”

The charity said while using a refillable water bottle is the best way to stay hydrated on the move, buying a bottle of water with a charitable donation remains the healthiest and most ethical alternative for those without a refillable bottle.

While single-use plastic bottles make up the largest proportion of plastic bottle waste in the UK, only 57% is collected for recycling. The rest goes to landfill or ends up as litter.

FRANK Water said this evidence and a growing movement to reduce or end plastic waste worldwide compounded its decision to discontinue selling water in single-use plastic bottles and offer more sustainable alternatives.

Katie Alcott added: “We have always been committed to being transparent and open about our social enterprise business and charitable activities – hence the name FRANK Water.

“We have been working towards this announcement for some time now and feel hugely positive about our decision to end the sale of FRANK Water in single-use plastic bottles.

“Although we are not an environmental campaigning organisation, our mission and objectives are closely aligned to our friends and colleagues across the environmental sector.

“We want our announcement to give them hope that change is coming, and to encourage consumers to choose to refill rather than continue polluting our planet with toxic plastic waste.”

The move has been greeted by stockists. Bristol’s Watershed has stocked FRANK Water for more than five years. General manager James Taljaard said: “In response to FRANK Water’s admirable decision to stop selling water in single-use plastic bottles, we have switched our order to glass bottles.

“As a charitable organisation, situated on Bristol’s historic Harbourside and committed to being as responsible and ethical as possible – in line with what our customers expect of us – we are pleased to be able to support this move to a more sustainable future for us all.”

As well as helping marginalised communities in India and Nepal access clean, safe water supplies, FRANK also teaches the importance of water safety and sanitation. 

To join the campaign and #PledgeToRefill, click here. To buy a FRANK Water refillable bottle, click here and to find out more about the FRANK Water’s work click here.

Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across Bristol for just £120 a month. Email for more information.