TUT blog (1)


In Scotland, we’re lucky to have water that’s world-class. It’s clean, clear, great tasting and we can enjoy it at home at the turn of a tap. However, it’s a different story when we’re out and about. Most of us are too embarrassed to ask to use a tap in a café or bar, so we end-up buying expensive bottled water instead. The problem with this is it contributes to plastic waste which harms our planet. Surely there’s a more environmentally friendly way for us to quench our thirst when we’re on the move?


Scottish Water came up with the idea of introducing a network of ‘Top Up Taps’ across the country. These big blue high-tech water fountains allow the public to ‘Top Up’ at the push of a button with reusable plastic bottles. It was decided that 100 Top Up Taps would be installed, and the idea was even written into Scotland’s Programme for Government. On social media, we asked communities if they wanted a Top Up Tap in their area. The response was phenomenal, with over 1,500 requests. Unfortunately, we couldn’t always install one where people wanted but we encouraged everyone to get behind their local tap.


Every new Top Up Tap location was celebrated with a special unveiling. These events featured a variety of entertainment; from singers and footy mascots to juggling school kids and tap dancers! In addition, we helped spread the message by setting-up temporary Top Up Taps at the Edinburgh Festival and Royal Highland Show. Online activity included building a digital Tap Map which attracted 46,000 visitors in its first 6 months. We also ran #TopUpTapTuesday, which featured Taps around Scotland along with nuggets of local knowledge as well as curating social media posts which praised Scottish Water.


There are now 100 Top Up Taps spanning the country, from Lerwick to Linlithgow (the 100th was unveiled in Falkirk’s Helix Park beside the iconic Kelpies). Almost one in four of us have used the taps, with 76% now carrying a refillable bottle when they’re out and about, an increase of 8% since August 2021. This has made a massive contribution to reducing Scotland’s single-use plastic consumption. By ‘Topping Up from the Tap’, the public has so far helped save the equivalent of 5 million plastic bottles!


This success of the ‘Top Up from the Tap’ campaign has been recognised by awards juries. It won the Marketing Week Award for the Regulated Industries – the 3rd time in a row we’ve won that award as an agency! We’ve won the award in 2023, 2022 and 2021.


The initiative also scooped a Silver at this year’s Marketing Society Star Awards. But we can’t rest on our laurels. An estimated 20 million single use plastic bottles still litter Scotland every year, polluting our beautiful landscape. That’s why it’s so important to get behind your local Top Up Tap. So, take a refillable bottle with you when you’re out and about. It’s good for you, your pocket and the planet!

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