New assured advice for retailers on what to consider when providing water refills in store has been launched by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

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

Key information in the guidance includes:

• the two types of water refill point that retailers can offer (either operated by a retailer or a customer);

• security concerns when refilling bottles requires a member of staff to leave the till point;

• 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.

Assured advice guides provide accredited standards for in-store procedures. By signing up to the ACS assured advice scheme and following its guidelines, the procedures in store must be respected by all local enforcement officers including environmental health and trading standards.