Refill Not Landfill: Using Refillable Water Bottles Whilst Travelling

One of the biggest lessons we've learnt whilst travelling is that plastic is a gigantic problem - we've seen first-hand the devastating effect it has in places like the Philippines and Indonesia - but this isn't just a problem that affects far off paradises, this is something that impacts all of us - even if we don't know it yet. We've made a vow to cut out plastic by 2018 and we even wrote a post about 10 plastic items you use every day that can easily be avoided, but it's not enough. We're always on the look out for more things to do to help, which is why we're bringing you this post. This post is brought to you by Refill Cambodia - please note it's not sponsored, we just think they're doing fantastic work and want to help spread the news, enjoy!

1. The Importance of the Usage of a Refillable Water Bottle Whilst Travelling

The number of plastic water bottles used in the tourism industry in Asia is alarming. Often there is not yet an effective recycling system, which means that the majority of the plastic waste used by travellers like you and me ends up in the landfill or as sea pollution. According to Greenpeace, at the moment 150 millions tons of plastic litter is located in the sea. Each year 12 million tons of plastic is added. Several companies and organisations in Cambodia decided to take action and are changing the plastic usage in South East Asia all together. It is estimated that 4.6 million plastic water bottles are used monthly in the tourist industry in Cambodia alone. The single usage of the plastic bottles goes along with harmful consequences to the environment. That is why change is urgently needed.

2. Reusable bottles in Cambodia

In Cambodia the tourism industry is working together to reduce the usage of plastic water bottles. In 2016 a project named Refill Not Landfill was founded. This project is offering an alternative to the plastic water bottle: the reusable aluminium bottle. Hotels, restaurants, tour operators, organisations and other businesses became partners of the Refill Not Landfill campaign by becoming a water refill station or a sales point. The only requirement is that they supply clean purified water to every holder of a branded Refill Not Landfill bottle.

This campaign became very popular amongst both tourists and local people, more and more organisations joined Refill Not Landfill. In Cambodia you can buy the reusable bottles of Refill Not Landfill at many different spots through the country. Due to the support of many business and organisations the bottles are already refillable free-of-charge at more than 150 locations. Great news because soon the refill stations will be found in Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand!

3. Why Refill and Not Landfill?

Every day, every tourist is drinking 2 litres of water, often bought in 4 plastic bottles. Buying 4 plastic bottles every day for the entire holiday piles up and causes serious environmental problems. Simply because there was no alternative available before, people had no other choice than buying plastic water bottles. Refill Not Landfill has already reduced a large amount of plastic bottles and is making a significant change now. 

4. The Consequences of Consuming Plastic Water Bottles

In Asia people are less familiar with recycling plastic products. The majority of the waste ends up in the sea, in the rivers, in mountainous landfills, next to the roads or is burned. Plastic waste is not only harmful for the environment but is also having negative consequences on humans and wildlife. Households burning waste is not a rare thing in Asia, especially in the countryside - this is what happens on a common basis. Burning waste puts harmful pollutions into the atmosphere. There is a big chance that the waste that is not burned ends up in the sea or rivers. Plastic is confused with food by the sea animals, which causes the death of hundred of thousands of animals every year. Those that eat fish and other animals, will have small particles of plastic ending up in their body, which will create health problems in the long term. This is only a part of all the harmful effects caused by plastic usage. To reduce your own usage of plastic in Asia, I have listed some tips below.

5. How to Reduce Plastic in an Easy Way

In addition to the use of a reusable water bottle, there are plenty of other options to use less plastic when travelling. The using alternatives for plastic bottles, straws and bags are easy changes in habits and lead to enormous positive differences! Firstly, in Asia it is normal to get a new plastic bag with every new purchase. When visiting the market it is more a rule than exception that you go home with a handful of plastic bags. This is why you should always take your own non-plastic bag with you while shopping and avoid single use plastic bags completely - if you forget your non-plastic bag, simple carry your items: it's kind of an inconvenience, which will make you more likely to remember your bag next time!

Using plastic straws is easy to reduce by simply not using one. Of course, the avoidance of plastic straws is a perfect solution but I image sometimes drinking is better with a straw. In Cambodia most of the plastic straws are getting replaced by bamboo or metal straws, this even looks better than using a plastic straw! In Cambodia more and more people and organisations are reducing plastics and joining the Refill Not Landfill campaign. Together we can make a difference! A few Refill Not Landfill partners:

  • The Nest Beachclub 
  • The Battambang Bike 
  • Flow Food and Wine 
  • McDermott Galery
  • Vagabonds 
  • Rehash Trash
  • Purple Mango Welness centre
  • Little Red Fox Espresso
  • Jaya House RiverPark
  • Victoria Angkor 
  • Sala Lodges
  • Babel Guesthouse
  • LubD Hostel 
  • Aqua Expeditions
  • EXO-Travel
  • Easia-Travel
  • The Phare Cambodian circus

6. Wrap Up: Refill Not Landfill

Thank you for reading! We hope you found this useful - please be sure to follow Refill Not Landfill on Facebook and Instagram and make sure you grab a Refill Not Landfill bottle when you're in South East Asia!

P.S.: Another way of travelling and getting accommodation cheaply is housesitting. was kind enough to provide us and our readers with a 10% discount, feel free to click on the link to use it :)

Share this:


We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


    Disqus Comment
    Facebook Comment
comments powered by Disqus