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Graphic design of newspaper front page, reading 'The Good News #26' on a purple background
October, 2020

The Good News #26

Autumn has arrived, it’s time to put the heating on and settle in with the latest in our Good News series. Here are some of our favourite recent news stories from the creative, tech and innovation sectors.

Refill app

Not for profit organisation City to Sea launched its award-winning Refill campaign in 2015 in Bristol. Refill went national in 2018 and has so far prevented the use of an estimated 100 million plastic water bottles.

The concept for Refill is simple but effective – it connects thirsty people with free drinking water via a location-based app, allowing users to fill up their reusable bottles and preventing them from buying single use plastic. Participating cafes, bars, restaurants, banks, galleries, museums and other businesses simply sign up to the Refill app and put a sticker in their window – letting passers-by know that they’re welcome to come on in and fill up their bottle.

The City to Sea team is now taking it to the next level, making Refill the world’s first app dedicated to helping people find locations to reuse and refill, not just water, but coffee cups, lunchboxes, groceries, cleaning products and toiletries. The Refill app already connects users to more than 30,000 places. It also highlights discounts available, rewarding consumers for reducing packaging. Morrisons, LUSH and Costa are among the brands signed up to the campaign, while Circular&Co has become a new official Refill partner.

In 2019, research revealed that 75 per cent of the British public bought their lunch on-the-go each day, generating 11 billion items of packaging waste a year, equivalent to 276 items per person every year. However, it’s clear that people do want to act on this issue, with 93 per cent of people surveyed by City to Sea saying they are worried about plastic pollution and 75 per cent saying they are willing to use refill services. The expansion of Refill is clearly a really exciting development that will hopefully allow people to more easily reduce the amount of single use plastic they throw away every day.

Three iPhones in a row on a blue background, with the Refill app on the IPhone screens

Asics announces virtual marathon

If you’ve somehow managed to take up running over the course of the 2020 pandemic, congratulations! Fortunately for you, fitness brand Asics has announced a new virtual relay marathon event that will allow teams of up to six to complete the distance from anywhere in the world. The Asics World Ekiden 2020 is based on traditional long-distance Japanese relay races but will use technology to link runners together in order to take part.

Asics developed the event in response to research, which showed 42% of those who regularly exercise were currently finding it difficult to stay motivated because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and social distancing restrictions limiting their ability to race.

The new virtual race will use the Race Roster online platform and the Asics Runkeeper app to allow runners to track team progress in real-time on their mobile device, as well as on wearables including the Apple Watch, Garmin and Fitbit devices. Live online leaderboards will show rankings and an in-race audio experience will also be available, Asics said, as part of efforts to make the team competition feel real no matter where various members are.

The World Ekiden is split into six legs, including three legs of 5km, two legs of 10km and one of 7.2km for teams of up to six people to complete. Those who sign up for free on the Asics website or the Runkeeper app must complete their relay race between November 11 and 22.

Ready, set, go!

Black woman running in grey sports bra with sea in the background

Girl power on the streets of Bristol

Our lovely city of Bristol is world-renowned for its street art. If you hop south of the river to Bedminster, the home of Upfest, the world’s largest street art festival, you might spot a collection of new murals above shops on North Street.

The murals were painted by an all-female line-up of Bristol artists including Bex Glover, Zoe Power, Gemma Compton and the latest addition, Sophie Long. Long’s new piece above South West Upholstery features her trademark bees.

Versions of the murals are also available as prints within the Upfest shop, with the artists also part of Virtual Upfest – taking place online in the absence of a real-life festival this year.

There now remains only one blank wall, above the Oowee diner, but the Upfest team are keeping who could soon be painting it firmly under wraps.

Image of five shop fronts on North Street in Bedminster, Bristol with colourful murals painted on them

Quench your thirst for creativity and discover the four barriers to creative innovation with.…the Innovation Gap!