A YouGov survey commissioned by BRITA Professional and environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy found that 64% of UK consumers would be more inclined to make a purchase in a business producing free water for their reusable water bottle.

Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “There has been encouraging progress in the past year to address litter levels from single-use plastic, but this report demonstrates that we are not there yet.

“Too many people still find it challenging to fill up on the go, while many more are still embarrassed to ask for tap, worried about the safety of water fountains, or just unwilling to go the extra mile and carry around a reusable bottle. We’ve simply got to get to a situation where topping up in glass or refillable bottle is the norm.”

The research, which is a part of Brita’s #SwapForGood campaign, aims to stop the use of single-use plastic bottles and encourage people to make changes that benefit the environment.

The research reveals that 62% of consumers would choose a competitor if they offered free refills for their reusable water bottle, and 73% would see a business more positively if they offered free tap or filtered water on request.

According to the survey, 67% of consumers would be more willing to use a reusable bottle if they knew that businesses would willingly fill them up, an increase from 55% last year.

More than half of consumers are concerned about cleanliness of single-use plastic bottles (59%) especially women, rising to 64% among women.

The survey found that people were typically comfortable asking businesses from which they had made or planned to make a purchase for a free glass of tap water (72%). However, only 49% felt comfortable asking for their water bottle to be refilled under the same circumstances, an increase from 39% last year.

Most respondents were not comfortable asking for a free glass of water or reusable bottle to be refilled from a business from which they did not made a purchase or planned to make a purchase.

Brita UK managing director Sarah Taylor said: “What’s clear is that there is much more we can all do to help people swap for good to things like refillable bottles and reduce their single-use plastic footprint, whether that is reassuring them about the safety of water fountains or making it as easy as possible to fill up and stay hydrated on the go.”

Two thirds of the respondents (66%) expressed that if a Refill Scheme—a national, practical tap water campaign aiming to make refilling reusable bottles easy, convenient and cheap—would encourage them to use reusable water bottle and make a purchase while getting a refill (65%).

While only 9% of consumers currently use a public fountain, 73% would be more likely to use reusable plastic bottles if they were offered drinking water in shops without having to ask for it. The majority of the consumers (63%) also believe food and drink businesses should provide free tap or filtered water to anyone who asks for it.