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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucester business saves 21 single-use plastic bottles every second

Sustainability is driving double-digit growth for Gloucester-based hydration firm, the WCD Group.

Having built up an incredible installed base of circa 40,000 plumbed-in water dispensers and hydration stations during their 15-year history, the company has been supporting the refill revolution for over a decade.

(L2R) Pete Glanville (MD), Simon Beard (Barclays), Freddie Cairns Palmer (CEO)

It is all about providing fresh, pristine drinking water for staff to refill a glass or reusable bottle in the workplace and cut buying single-use plastic bottles to hydrate. This equates to 21 plastic bottles being saved from landfill and pollution in our oceans every second.

Bar tap and chiller at David Lloyd Club (with former olympian Sam Murray)

Freddie Cairns Palmer, CEO at the WCD Group said: "If you do the maths you can see this is a staggering saving. No wonder new firm on the block, Chilly's Bottles is going from strength to strength.

"We refer to this as the Attenborough Affect. The tipping point for plastic pollution came with Sir David's Blue Planet II documentary in October 2017. Some 7.7 billion bottles are bought in the UK each year.

"The crusade against single-use plastic pollution has resulted in a meteoric rise in the refill sector, and sees us working with Gloucester Rugby, Creed Foodservice, and high street brands such as Sainsbury's, M&S and Greggs."

With organisations such as Refill.org and other anti-pollution and waste bodies fast emerging in 2019, the WCD Group has enjoyed a higher than 12 per cent annual growth.

There has been a swell in businesses and retailers investing in plumbed in refill stations for their customers and the public to refill reusable bottles with fresh water, reducing waste and plastic polluting the environment.

Enjoying a long-standing relationship, Barclays has supported the WCD Group at every stage of growth, including the expansion into new premises on the prestigious Gloucester Business Park, increasing staff, and investing in new e-commerce web technology and product lines.

Privately owned and with a 2019 turnover circa £7m the firm employs 58 staff from its base in Gloucester Business Park, Brockworth.

Former Gloucester Rugby player and now WCD MD, Pete Glanville was excited to highlight that the WCD Group is more than just cold hydration.

Plumbed in water dispenser for chilled and filtered refills with a reusable bottle

He said: "We do hot. Boilers and instant hot taps are a big element of our business, including the servicing. We brought to market our own exclusive range of instant boiling hot taps, the multi-function KettleTap® range - boiling, cold, hot, ambient - replaces kettles delivering gains in energy efficiency and environmental sustainability."

Mr Glanville added: "One important constant throughout our history has been Barclays as our financial partner and funding backbone. Today they continue to support us as we enter our next investment and growth phase, increasing our new product development brands and implementing an exciting launch into the domestic market with our KettleTap hot taps.

"This goes hand in hand with a recruitment drive to take on more resources in sales, operations, and field engineering, alongside our growing apprentice scheme."

Simon Beard, relationship director at Barclays, said: "The WCD Group is a great example of a company being prepared to diversify into other areas as its business evolves, spotting threats and opportunities and adapting to meet or seize them.

"They have recently won a contract with a leading online retailer worth £1million-plus to install and service a range of sustainable employee hydration solutions.

"This is a business with a rich history but one that is also determined to have a bright future."

The WCD Group comprises five brands: watercoolersdirect.com; waterboilersdirect.com, airandwaterdirect.com (trade); logistics & supply app at www.letsjobit.com and its kettletaps.com site focusing on the fast-growing instant boiling tap category.

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