Retailers considering the installation of a water refill service for customers can now access new ACS Assured Advice on how best to do so.

Water refill box out 2

It comes just days after England’s former chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies told the government that free water refill schemes should be available in all food and drink retail sites, in her last report before stepping down from her post earlier this month.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) guidance sets out the different ways that retailers can provide a water refill service in store, as well as highlighting some of the staffing and security challenges of offering this service, especially for stores where there is only one member of staff behind the till.

It also includes advice on:

  • The two types of water refill point that retailers can offer (either operated by a retailer or a customer)
  • The types of container that are recommended to be accepted for refills
  • Commercial considerations for retailers when offering a water refill service

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Providing a facility for customers to fill up their water bottles is a great way to save waste and plastic and demonstrate a stores’ commitment to the environment, but there are a number of things that need to be considered to ensure that the service can be provided efficiently and safely, so we encourage retailers to use our guidance to see if offering this service is right for their business.”

Businesses are not required by law to offer tap water to customers free of charge unless they serve alcohol that is intended for consumption on the premises.

The Assured Advice guide on water refills is available here.