The success of Blue Planet II has failed to generate a shift in the Scottish public’s behaviour, with only a third carrying around a refillable water container and fewer than one in five going the extra mile to find an alternative to plastic bottles, a new survey has found.
More than a quarter of people admit they opt for bottled water when away from home, particularly when travelling.
Inconvenience, forgetfulness and the weight of reusable bottles were the key reasons given for only a quarter drinking from their own vessel.
The findings come despite increased awareness of the impacts of plastic pollution on the planet and more than half of those questioned saying they own a refillable bottle.
The YouGov poll, for environment charity Keep Britain Tidy and drinking water solutions firm Brita UK, also found many Scots are too embarrassed to ask businesses if they can fill a bottle with tap water.
The results show more than four in five think there should be greater availability of free tap water, with two thirds saying they don’t buy bottled if tap is on offer.
Disturbing images of the effects of plastic waste on ocean wildlife seen in Blue Planet II, last year’s most watched programme, sparked calls for urgent action to curb single-use plastic items such as disposable cups and straws and drinks bottles.
But the latest survey suggests behaviour has barely changed, with only two in five feeling bad for the environment if they buy bottled water.
The Scottish Government has committed to phasing out single-use plastics by 2030 and has pledged to introduce a deposit-return scheme for disposable drinking vessels.
Westminster has outlined plans to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by 2042.
“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,” said Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton.