NEW! REFILL ITALIA (REFILL ITALY)

Italy is Europe’s 1st country when it comes to bottled water consumption per capita and the world’s 3rd country (after Mexico and Thailand). Therefore we are extremely pleased to inform you about Europe’s latest refill program: Refill Italia (Refill Italy)! Last year, they launched in close collaboration with Refill.org.uk. What are they up to? And how can you help? We spoke with Margeritha Cavalleri, co-founder of Refill Italia.

INTERVIEW WITH MARGERITHA CAVALLERI (M)

Why did you start this project?

M: Enrica and I both felt this kind of project was lacking in Italy, and it was time to make a real difference. We know each other for over twenty years so it was really nice we could start this project together.

Nice! Bottled water consumption in Italy is huge, so we’re glad you two initiated this refill project. Why did you decide to collaborate with Refill?

M: We prefer to collaborate instead of reinventing the wheel. By working with Refill we can learn from their >3 years of experience in the field. The Refill app works well and it saves us a lot of time and money because we don’t need to build our own app.

Italy is a large country, where do you start?

M: We are going to focus in Lombardy first, using Milano, our city, as a pilot project. But we really hope Refill Italia will widespread fast, reaching all other regions.

How do you finance this project?

M: At the moment we do all the work voluntarily, next to our regular jobs. Of course it is quite a challenge and sometimes it is hard to find the time, but when you are driven by passion and enthusiasm…

You must be very motivated! We face the same challenges at Refill Ambassadors, we do all the work for fun (free), and combine this with our own regular jobs. How many refill stations have you added so far?

M: Around 600 in the first four months. In England more than 22.000 Refill Station have been registered in the App so far.

That’s a very good start. We hope more Italians will add refill stations soon. What are your next steps?

M: We have great ambitions! We want to reach public places with a huge number of people on the road and water bottles on the go, such as metro and train stations!

Last question: how can people help you with Refill Italia?

M: We are in constant need for volunteers who want to help, by spreading the voice and involving bars, restaurants and owners of public spaces. To have more information just contact us at info@refillitalia.org

HELP REFILL ITALIA TO GROW

Alright Italians and tourists, we got a mission: bring your reusable bottle and look out for refill stations. If you cannot find any in the Refill app (or another refill app you may be using), try to encourage bars, restaurants and shops to become a refill station. Ask if you may add them to the Refill app, so other people know the new refill place exist.

Visit the Refill Italia website to learn more about the project. Use the hashtag: #REFILLit

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USING A STERIPEN ADVENTURER OPTI TO STERILISE TAP WATER

In this blog I share my experience with the SteriPEN adventurer Opti, which I used when hiking in the Dolomites, Italy. You might wonder, can’t you drink tap water in the Dolomites? Yes, in most places you can. Sometimes directly from the mountain stream. However, there are some areas where tap water is not potable. For example in some mountain cabins also known as ‘rifugio’s’, we could not drink tap water (listed in the end of this blog). Luckily with our SteriPEN we didn’t have to buy any single-use plastic bottles. In this blog, we explain how it works. 

WHAT IS A STERIPEN?

The SteriPEN is a portable gadget which uses ultraviolet light to sterilise water and make it safe for drinking. The device kills the DNA of harmful microbes, viruses and bacteria. According to the manufacturers, 99,9% of all harmful enemies are killed. The SteriPEN does not filter metals or chemicals.

USING THE STERIPEN

Several models exist. We bought the SteriPEN adventurer Opti for our trip. This device only has one button. Click once (for 1 L) or twice (for 1/2 L) to activate the UV light. Then stir around in the bottle until the green light flashes. And done! In case it did not go well, the sensor gives other signals to warn you.

STERIPEN ADVENTURER OPTI PRO’S AND CON’S

What we love about the SteriPEN adventurer Opti:

  • Lightweight: 108 grams + batteries
  • Quick: 48 seconds (1/2 L), or 90 seconds (1 L)
  • Clear interface: green and red lights (unless you are colour blind!)
  • Capacity: can filter 8.000 liters of water
  • Value for money: prices vary from €60,- to €100,- (or around 1-2 cent/litre)

Drawbacks:

  • Battery: you need CR123 batteries, which can be expensive and difficult to find
  • Bottle: you need a bottle with a wide opening, otherwise it does not work

OTHER WATER FILTERS / PURIFIERS

The SteriPEN is one product to purify water. For example there is also the Lifestraw or Grayl water filter. We did not test these, but read what other travellers wrote about this topic:

How do you filter water when travelling? Share your experiences!

BACKGROUND INFO: SOME CABINS (RIFUGIO’S) IN THE DOLOMITES WITHOUT CLEAN TAP WATER (BY MACHA LINSZEN)

Our friend Mascha Linszen also travelled to the Dolomites (natural parks around Cortina d’ Ampezzo) and she kept track of tap water conditions in all cabins she visited.

“Most cabins are large and comfortable, and often well connected to civilization by means of a cart track. The comfortable cabins where we have been sitting or passing along the way have running drinking water from the tap at their disposal. In our case this involved the following cabins (DE / IT):

  • Hütte Plätzwiese / Prato Piazza rifugio
  • Dürrenstein Hütte / Vallandro rifugio
  • Sennes Hütte / rifugio Sennes
  • Schutzhütte Vodara Vedla
  • Berggasthaus Pederü
  • Fanes Hut
  • Berghütte Lavarella / Rifugio Lavarella

In some smaller huts the tap water was not drinkable. This was indicated in different ways, and there were alternatives available:

  • Seekofel Hütte / Rifugio Biella
    Indicated: by means of signs (‘kein Trinkwasser’) next to the tap
    Alternative: water / soft drink / alcoholic drink offered for sale
  • Ucia dles Muntagnoles
    Indicated: on arrival, verbal communication by the hostess
    Alternative: water / soft drink / alcoholic drink offered for sale
    Alternative 2: tap water at a nearby larger cabin (Fanes / Lavarella)
    Alternative 3: the host lady (living in the hut) drinks from the nearby stream herself, but clearly indicates that this is at his own risk given the larger huts upstream. Two Germans who, despite this warning, drank from 4 brooks in the brook soon got stomach flu.
  • Ütia da Rit
    Indicated: warm tap water temperature
    Alternative: water / soft drink / alcoholic drink offered for sale
    Alternative 2: there is potable tap water in the kitchen – we asked the cook on the spot if we could fill our bottles.”

 

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