By Georgina Matthews of Refill Oxford.

When I was a kid, there were no plastic water bottles.

Now we use a mind-boggling 7.7 billion every year in the UK.

Only half these end up in recycling, while millions are littered, burnt or can end up in landfill.

Plastic bottle waste now blights our towns, cities and countryside and plastic contamination is found in everything from tap water to sea salt.

This is a change that has happened in my lifetime and I’d like to see it reversed.

We all know it’s handy to grab 'n’ go, and keeping hydrated is great for health and fitness, but think about it – there must be a better way to quench your thirst than buying a brand new plastic water bottle every time?

Well now there is, and it’s called Refill.

I first read about the Refill campaign in the summer of 2017.

It is a simple idea: Refill links people who want water to business that have taps and so reduces plastic waste.

It made total sense to me and a way I could help turn the tide on plastic waste.

We are privileged to have an amazing public water system in the UK. Why not use it?

So, I consulted family and friends and decided to set up the Refill campaign here, in Oxford.

My first challenge was building a local network of Refill stations. I recruited an enthusiastic group of volunteers – students, lecturers, city centre workers, mums – anyone with a few hours to spare in the day to talk to their local outlets about Refill.

Thanks to them and forward-looking local businesses, we now have more than 150 Refill stations in pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes, hospital outlets, both universities, the bus station, and even hairdressers all over the city.

Participating businesses display a round, blue-branded Refill sticker in their window or door.

All the Refill stations are marked on a map which you can download as an app to your phone to find out where they all are and access free tap water on the go.

Now we have a network of Refill stations, my next challenge was to raise awareness of the Refill scheme in Oxford.

That’s why I decided to build a giant tap sculpture in Bonn Square to launch the Refill project this week.

Brilliantly conceived by local artist and environmental campaigner Lois Muddiman, the illuminated water droplet is made up of 300 plastic water bottles, the number we use in Oxford every eight minutes.

I hope it has got people talking, downloading the Refill app and refilling their water bottles to reduce plastic waste.

There’s potential for the Refill scheme to have a large impact in Oxford.

Although it’s a small city, there is a huge incoming population – 40,000 students and 30,000 commuters coming into Oxford every day; millions going to the Westgate centre and eight million tourists per year – all potentially wanting water on the go.

Every time someone refills a bottle rather than throwing a plastic one away, we are reducing the amount of plastic that’s destroying our environment.

If just one in 10 Brits refilled once a week, we’d save around 340 million plastic bottles a year. Now that would be good, wouldn’t it?

Make it your new year’s resolution to carry a water bottle and refill.

It’s a simple change we can all make and lots of small steps can add up to a big difference.

Go on, download the Refill app and tap in to the #RefillRevolution.