So you bring your own bag and refrain from ordering take-out, but still haven’t gotten around to bringing a reusable bottle on the go because, given its small capacity, you’re going to have to buy bottled water anyway—and lugging around a filled 1.2-litre bottle is out of the question. Out of desperation, you’ve tried asking staff at a coffee chain for some water, only to be told, “Our water is reserved for paying customers only”. You give in and buy a bottle of seriously overpriced water at the nearest convenience store. But it’s okay as long as you recycle the bottle after, right?
What if we told you that there’s a better alternative to bottled water, which is just as safe—if not safer? According to the Water Supplies Department, Hong Kong’s drinking water supply is actually among the safest in the world: it conforms to the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality recommended by the World Health Organization. And it’s 1,000 times cheaper than bottled water here, too.
The environmental impact of bottled water is equally, if not more, alarming. A great volume of water goes into manufacturing one plastic bottle—to be precise, three times the amount of the water with which the bottle is filled—and because of the chemical production of plastics, this water is mostly unusable. With such an elaborate production process, plastic PET bottles are built to last, but not in a good way: if unrecycled, they sit around for 450 years before they get completely broken down. Hong Kong purchases 1.5 million plastic water bottles every day, and 12 out of 13 of these bottles are not recycled, with some breaking up into small plastic particles that are ingested by marine animals, which are in turn consumed by us.
As if these facts aren’t disturbing enough, we should also look at the amount of energy that goes into producing, delivering, recycling or disposing of plastic bottles. We at Urban Spring think there’s a better way to direct our energy and resources. The amount of energy in question can be as large as 30 times the amount required for filtering tap water, including the production, delivery and disposal of such filters. So why not change the way we see and use tap water?
We should let water be water and not re-create it in the form of bottled beverages. The filtration of tap water is key: it is the sustainable and reasonably-priced alternative to bottled water. One of Urban Spring’s goals is to redefine the way water is consumed outside of the home by creating a free refill network throughout the city. Enter “WELL#”: a safe and well-maintained water refill station fitted with a hidden, self-rinsing nozzle and an NSF 42 & 53 certified ultra-fine water filter that ensures great-tasting drinking water at the push of a button. Its industrial-grade water filtration, smart sensors and real-time monitoring system help maintain the quality, hygiene and safety levels of the water. All you need is a reusable bottle or cup, and you can drink from WELL# wherever it is available.
So how can you make this happen? Put Urban Spring in touch with your favourite locations—offices, businesses, shopping centres, transport hubs, club houses, community centres, schools, universities, and more—if you want to see plastic bottles and carboys replaced by our water refill stations. If you’re hosting an event and don’t want to worry about the transportation and storage of water (and the inevitable clean-up after), come to us for a waste-free solution.
Urban Spring is now creating a map of its free refill network—and it’s up to YOU to put more locations on the map! Just recently, Urban Spring installed a WELL# on the 2nd floor of Hysan Place, so the next time you go shopping in Causeway Bay, you’ll know where to go for clean, convenient and free water. With WELL#, you’ll no longer have to choose between hauling around a huge water bottle, or buying overpriced bottled water: just bring your favourite drinking vessel and refill as you go.