Keep Britain Tidy has urged cafes and restaurants to offer customers free water to reduce plastic bottle waste and pollution.
The litter charity has released a report that urges new laws to help cut unnecessary waste.
It is thought that about three billion litres of bottled water are drunk every year, with each bottle taking around 450 years to fully biodegrade.
The report states that:
Current UK legislation only requires licensed premises to provide free drinking water to customers, and even then, a loophole in the legislation means that businesses can choose to charge customers for the use of a glass and/or for service.
“It is recommended that current legislation be updated to prohibit businesses from charging customers for the use of a glass and/or service when providing free drinking water; [and] expand the types of businesses required to provide free drinking water to all those that serve food and/or drinks, regardless of whether they are licensed.”
A survey by YouGov, commissioned by Keep Britain Tidy and Brita UK, found that 57 per cent of those questioned thought that businesses serving food or drinks should also provide drinking water — even if the people asking were not buying anything.
Despite this 71 per cent said that they would actually feel uncomfortable asking for free tap water in a glass without buying something else.
Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy said:
This report demonstrates that the British public want greater access to tap water when out and about.
“Topping up in a glass or refillable bottle would encourage us to stay healthy while helping to reduce littering in our streets, parks and beaches, which is all good.”
The Marine Conservation society is holding a Plastic Challenge, which is to take place next month. In it, people are asked to stop using single-use plastic for a month, or as long as they can manage.