East of England Co-op has replaced 500ml still water plastic bottles with a water refill station at two stores as part of a ‘bottle for life’ trial.

Customers at the society’s Nacton Road forecourt in Ipswich and its Norwich Station store are able to purchase an eco-friendly bottle for life, which can be refilled with filtered, chilled or flavoured water.

If the bottle needs replacing, the East of England Co-op will exchange it free of charge and ensure that the returned bottle is recycled. The ‘water refill station’, which will accept cash and contactless, will also allow customers the opportunity to rinse and refill their own water bottles.

The bottle for life, designed for regular re-use, will be available at a one-off cost of £2.49 with a free refill. All subsequent refills cost 50p.

If the 12-week trial proves successful, the initiative could be rolled out across all of East of England Co-op’s 125 stores.

Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive of the East of England Co-op, said: “After the popularity of the Co-op Guide to Dating, we hope that customers at our trial stores will get behind this new scheme.”

Visiting the Nacton Road store, environment minister Thérèse Coffey MP said: “The world has woken up to the terrible impact single-use plastics have on our environment and by using refillable bottles we can each make a genuine difference, cutting our plastic use and helping to protect our precious marine life.”