ecoTalk: Christine Go (RefillMyBottle)

Meet Christine Go, the Project Manager for the non-profit, community-led RefillMyBottle that aims to quench, once and for all, people’s thirst for buying plastic water bottles. Why keep buying when we can reuse? Find out how you can participate in the movement as well in our eco-talk with the 28-year-old ecowarrior.

When and why did you start noticing that waste is a big issue and needs to be taken care of?

Subconsciously, I have always been avoiding single-use plastic bag ever since I was in college (which was many years ago), but when I started diving, I saw there were lots of trash found in the ocean and I think that was the turning point and I began to realize that we should not only avoid plastic bags but also all of the other single-use plastics. In recent years, while doing a degree in Climate Change, I noticed that plastic has become a global and urgent issue to be tackled.

Tell us the worst waste experience you’ve gone through yourself?

It was when I had to drop off my household waste to a nearby landfill in Suwung, Bali, and drove across all the pile of trash which looks like hills from afar with the unpleasant smells. It really made me ponder a lot: If we don’t change now, then when? How much longer can it sustain?

What’s Your Action?

I conducted a research on Indonesian students’ behavior towards the use of plastic bottles and it was very interesting to find that the majority of the respondents always bring their reusable water bottles when they live in the UK, but not when they are in Indonesia.

The main reason being that tap water is not drinkable in Indonesia and yet we could not find any water fountains to drink from. Therefore, it is much more convenient to buy plastic bottled water as it is also considerably cheap.

RefillMyBottle is the perfect solution to this problem: it is an online map that listed all the places where people can refill their water bottle. We are a community of sustainable business owners, responsible travelers, and conscious locals.

We offer a simple alternative to buying bottled water and our goal is to reduce the number of single-use plastic bottles used unnecessarily throughout the world. You can read more about us at

Why have you chosen this as your cause? Can you share with us any analysis/data on the plastic bottle waste issue on the island or globally?

Our community was founded initially in Bali—an island that tourism has impacted in myriad ways. Over five million travelers visit Bali every year, staying in Bali for an average of four days. Tourists consume, on average, two liters of water each day.

With each tourist using around four half-liter bottles a day, over six million disposable plastic bottles are used and discarded every month in Bali from the tourism industry alone. And the numbers are only increasing.

The lack of waste management systems means that these water bottles end up in landfills, the ocean, or are burned which creates toxic fumes. It’s clear that the problem needs to be tackled at the source by reducing consumption of plastic water bottles.

Does RefillMyBottle hold engagement programs to help raise the awareness of the waste issue?

We have our monthly sustainability meet-up where we collaborate with local organizations and gather to discuss how we can tackle this plastic waste or any other environmental issue together.  It is mostly conducted in public places so anyone can join and be a part of the solution. We also try to touch the young local generations by having an event at university every once in a while.

How can individuals/companies/organization take part in the RefillMyBottle movement? How many of them have signed up for RefillMyBottle so far?

We started in Bali about two years ago and now we have listed over 850 Refill Stations in more than nine countries. Businesses can join us by filling out a short questionnaire on our website and we will list them onto the map.

Anyone can be a Refiller and join the community. All they have to do is refill their bottle instead of using disposable plastic ones. To find a local Refill Station, they just have to visit our website or download the app to get the map.

What’s the biggest challenge in implementing your action?

As we receive requests from many countries to join the movement, we realize our resources are very limited to sustain our growth. At the same time, the quantity of plastic bottles ending in the ocean and landfills is escalating at a crazy pace.

The need for practical solutions to tackle the problem is urgent and we need to grow RefillMyBottle at a much faster pace. Therefore, we are organizing a crowdfunding campaign and invite everyone to be part of the solution:

Tell us about some waste-less action you implement personally?

Apart from skipping the single-use plastic (bottles, bags, and straws), I start using plastic-free toiletries and bathroom products, such as body soap and shampoo bars.  There are lots of alternatives available nowadays, have a look at the Zero Waste shop in Kerobokan and have a guilt-free shopping.

What is the first thing that you’ll advise people to be more responsible with waste? Any zero waste tips?

We all can start small and make a big difference. The very first and simple things we can do are to start bringing our own reusable bottle and bags, skipping the plastic straw, and start separating our trash. To live a zero-waste life does not happen overnight; let’s just take baby steps, one step at a time.

What’s next for you in terms of your involvement with RefillMyBottle?

We have just completed one of our big projects, which is the RefillMyBottle mobile app and we are very excited to launch it next week. Our goal for next is to form a team here in Bali so we can sustain our growth and move at a faster pace. Check out our campaign page at

I hope that one day we don’t need an app anymore to refill, because you can find refill stations just on every corner. And that bringing a reusable bottle and refilling will become the norm.

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