New Research Reveals Mental Health Toll of Plastic Pollution in Wales

On World Refill Day (16th June 2021), a new poll commissioned by City to Sea, in partnership with Friends of the Earth, finds that 61% of adults in Wales felt that the Covid-19 pandemic made them realise that spending time outdoors/ in nature is important to their sense of mental wellbeing.

But the research also found that these crucial mental health benefits are being put at risk as a result of the prevalence of plastic pollution.

More than half of the Welsh responders in the new poll (55%) reported feeling angry, or frustrated (45%) about seeing plastic/litter when spending time outdoors/ in nature.

The research also showed that a whopping 88% of Welsh consumers are concerned about levels of plastic pollution, and almost three quarters (74%) agree they would like to see more refill/reuse options available as a way to reduce this.

To make life easier for people that are looking to take steps to reduce plastic, City to Sea’s free Refill app, now lists thousands of locations around Wales where people can eat, drinks and shop without the pointless plastic. This includes everything from independent cafes offering a discount for bringing a reusable cup, to packaging-free greengrocers, bakers and zero-waste shops. In Wales, the Refill campaign to date has been funded and supported by Welsh Government.

Hannah Osman, Refill Wales manager at City to Sea said, “We’ve all learnt how important spending time in nature is over the last year and it’s heart-breaking to think that plastic pollution is not only harming our environment and precious ecosystems, but it now having an impact on our mental health, too.”

“The good news is that the most polluting items, like food and drink packaging, are also some of the easiest items to reduce, reuse or refill.”

Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said: “Over the past year, we’ve seen a bigger reliance on single-use plastic, but by reminding people to reuse and refill, I hope we will see it becoming a social norm. With more businesses joining Refill, it allows Wales to become a step closer in becoming the World’s first Refill Nation. I’d encourage businesses of all sizes to sign-up to Refill to allow Welsh customers a better chance of helping the environment.”


World Refill Day is a global public awareness campaign to prevent plastic pollution and help people live with less waste.

The Welsh public can support World Refill Day by making small changes to their everyday shopping, reducing single-use plastic and finding out what they can refill or reuse near them. Using the hashtag #WorldRefillDay, we’ll be encouraging people to inspire change by telling the world why they choose to reuse and sharing photos of them with their reusable bottles, cups and containers on social media.

To make life easier for people that are looking to take steps to reduce plastic, City of Sea’s free Refill app, now lists more than 200,000 locations around the world where people can eat, drink and shop.

The Refill app has already been downloaded more than 350,000 times and saved millions of items of single-use plastic from ending up in our waste stream, demonstrating the collective power of individual action on the planet.