Recently we posted ways to reduce plastic and save money at the same time. One way listed was having a bottle for life (or at least, for many years). At certain locations, you can top up your bottle with water for free. To find these locations you can use an app called Refill.

Refill campaign UK

The app is simple to use and here we share a few ways to get the most out of it. MoneyCortex is based in the UK but Refill is a global movement with over 400 Refill Schemes across the world from Australia to Latin America!

You may have seen the logo or heard about the Refill scheme before. Here’s how the blue logo looks. To see full details the UK version of the website is

Using the Refill app and how to get the most out of it

The idea is simple. Businesses that welcome you to fill your bottle up for free sign-up to the program and you find out about them by seeing the sticker in their window or by using an app. Refilling bottles avoids purchasing new plastic ones which is good for our planet and good for our wallets, plus water is healthy!

The app is available here for Android and here for Apple devices. Here’s how the map will look once you open the app. You can search for a specific location or if your GPS is turned on go direct to your current location.

Refill app in use

You don’t need an account to find locations

To use the map in the app you don’t need to create an account. But if you wish to measure your impact by logging your refills then you’ll need to create an account.

Reduce the lag on the map

The map can be a bit laggy if your smartphone is running low on RAM. If it feels laggy you can try solving it by closing some of the apps you have in the background.

Remember where local refill stations are

If you regularly go to places you don’t know (for work) then having the app could be handy. But if you shop and spend leisure time in the same places most of the time, as most people do, then you could get used to filling up in the same places. In that case you won’t need to keep the app installed if you don’t want to log your impact. Install the app to find local places and then you can uninstall it once you know them.

Use the fountain icon if you aren’t comfortable asking shop staff

If you’re not comfortable asking shop staff for a top-up you can tap the second icon down the right side of the map that looks like a fountain. Doing that will only show you public places you can freely use without needing to ask. When using public taps it can be best to give the water a little taste test in case it’s no good.

The vertical icons hovering down the right-hand side can be a bit confusing, there’s no actual key or explanation of what they mean. One is a coffee cup where you can use a reusable coffee cup if buying coffee, another is a food pot where you can take refillable food pots. It changes the purpose of the app somewhat from just places you can get a free bit of water to giving you information about shopping. It blurs it’s purpose somewhat but it’s very handy if you like to use refillable containers and coffee mugs.

Get yourself a bottle that’ll last many years

It can be nice to have a trendy bottle that not only looks good but will also last a very long time. So pick one that looks damn sexy! If you buy the official Chilly bottle from Refill they get £10 per bottle sold. Here’s the product listing on the Chilly website. It looks great! There are also plenty of really nice bottles on Amazon.

Add more locations to help others

If you run a business that wants to get involved or you know of locations that aren’t listed on the map then you can add them yourself.

A review of the Refill scheme overall

The campaign seems good-natured. Fundamentally it’s a really good idea. As a society we need to be using less plastic bottles, schemes like this will help at least a little bit. On a personal level, it can also save you a bit of money over time and help you drink healthy water rather than buying sugary drinks off the shelf.

If you’re keen to save money, reduce your impact on the planet and drink a bit more water then this app is definitely worth downloading and giving a try.

Getting involved with this is good because in theory it means no need to go into a shop and buy bottled water ever again! You see shelves of bottled water in lots of retail shops across the country. With this campaign the need for the water being sold in disposable bottles is significantly reduced should there be widespread adoption.

Getting used to going into a shop and getting your water bottle refilled when out and about would take time. It’s like forming a new habit. But over time if you get used to keeping your Chilly water bottle in your car and your bag and you use the same places to refill, it should become a completely normal part of your routine to use the free water refill app!

Last update: July 12, 2023