LSE installs new water fountain to help combat plastic waste

LSE is proud of our long-standing strategic commitment to being a sustainability leader
- LSE Head of Sustainability Jon Emmett
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The new water fountain is unveiled on LSE's campus Nigel Stead

A new water fountain has been installed next to the Students’ Union building at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in a bid to reduce plastic waste and encourage people to refill their containers rather than buy single-use plastic water bottles. 

Unveiled today (6 February), during LSE’s Green Week, the fountain funded by the London Drinking Fountain Fund is part of an initiative led by the Mayor of London and the #OneLess campaign to install 20 new drinking fountains across the capital.

The installation of the new fountain complements the School’s Plastic Free LSE campaign. This campaign works to reduce single-use plastics and raise awareness about the global impact of plastic waste on our oceans.  It encourages staff and students to choose reusable and more environmentally friendly products such as reusable mugs, refillable water bottles, stainless steel cutlery and tote bags.

In early 2018, plastic drinking straws were removed from catering outlets at LSE and in autumn 2018, LSE Catering introduced a 10p charge on disposable coffee cups, resulting in an increase in usage of reusable cups from 0.08% to 18%. 

Commenting on the new fountain, LSE Head of Sustainability Jon Emmett said: “LSE is proud of our long-standing strategic commitment to being a sustainability leader. In addition to the global impact of our research and teaching on sustainable development, we’ve cut our own carbon emissions by 33% since 2005, we send zero waste to landfill, and our new Centre Buildings and Marshall Building have achieved ‘BREEAM Excellent’ for their green design.   

“We are delighted to have installed this water fountain provided by #OneLess and the Mayor of London, as part of the London Drinking Fountain Fund. It will enable students, visitors and Londoners alike to be part of the solution to our global plastics issue. It also shows our commitment and contribution to the #OneLess campaign to cut plastic bottle use, and the Mayor’s goal to make London a greener city.”

Rachel Shairp, Coordinator of the #OneLess campaign and a Marine Project Manager at ZSL said: “We are really pleased to be working with LSE to reduce plastic bottled water use on campus by providing more sustainable ways to drink water. Londoners get through over a billion single-use plastic water bottles each year, which could find their way into London’s waterways and the Thames, eventually polluting our ocean and marine ecosystems for hundreds of years”

“The level of enthusiasm we are seeing for eliminating bottled water across London is fantastic. Together with organisations like LSE, we are making great strides towards becoming a plastic water bottle free city.”

Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues said: “Water fountains are a simple but effective way to encourage Londoners and visitors to switch from plastic bottles to reusable ones. The demand is greater than ever for quick and easy ways of accessing free drinking water and I’m pleased to see these fountains now appearing in public spaces across London. They’re already proving popular and City Hall is working on plans to install many more to benefit both thirsty Londoners and the environment.”




Behind the article

#OneLess campaign

The #OneLess campaign has been leading the charge against ocean plastic pollution since 2016, focusing on the pervasive single-use plastic water bottle. #OneLess is leading a ‘refill revolution’ in London, transforming the capital into a place where single-use bottled water is a thing of the past and where plastic waste is drastically reduced for the sake of the ocean.

#OneLess is led by the Zoological Society of London, in partnership with Forum for the Future, The International Programme on the State of the Ocean, and the Thames Estuary Partnership and is working with major London attractions and businesses, as well as the Mayor of London, to find and implement solutions to eradicate plastic bottled water and enable a refill culture across our city. For more information visit

The fountains

#OneLess, the Mayor of London and MIW Water Cooler Experts are ramping up London’s refill revolution by installing new drinking water fountains across the city.

Together, they have started the London Drinking Fountain Fund, and with it, are installing an initial network of at least 20 drinking fountains across the capital, making it really easy for Londoners to refill on the go.

The average Londoner gets through 175 bottles of water each year – that’s over a billion on a city level. Too many of these bottles end up in the River Thames, from where they can flow out to the ocean, causing harm to marine creatures and poisoning our food chain.

About MIW Water Cooler Experts

MIW Water Cooler Experts is one of the largest independent suppliers of water coolers in the UK.  Formed in 1989, MIW now supplies over 7,000 schools and businesses nationwide with high quality water coolers and drinking fountains.  For more than quarter of a century MIW has been developing and building innovative, high quality water coolers and drinking fountains. MIW also partners many of the UK’s leading architects & construction companies in providing drinking fountains for their