Refill Hygiene Advice

We know the pandemic has been a challenging time for many of you and we appreciate there’s been a lot of confusion and concern around hygiene and reusables. That’s why Refill UK has shared with REFILL.SWISS the following strategies for hygiene.


Brought together over 20 cross-sector organisations to form a reuse taskforce called REPEAT to share good practices.

Created industry guidance on how you can safely offer Water Refills and Contactless Coffee.

Working to promote reusables and reduce plastic waste.


  • Over 120 health scientists have stated reusables are safe as long as basic hygiene is followed i.e. wash your hands!
  • There have been 0 cases of COVID-19 being transmitted through food or food packaging. Whilst no-one can say it’s “impossible” (as it’s a new virus and everyone is UBER cautious), even the FCA says “it’s very unlikely”.
  • Compliance teams at big chains like Starbucks are accepting reusable coffee cups. And zero waste retailers  never stopped people using their reusables.

So it IS safe for our Refill Stations to offer refills, providing the guidance and checklist below is followed and basic hygiene standards are adhered to.



We know there are different ways that Stations offer refills. So, working with experts and with the backing of our partners REFILL has developed the following guidance demonstrating different options for safely accepting reusable bottles.

Whilst contactless options are preferable – as this means a reduced risk of contamination from surface contact – barriers, hand-washing and increased cleaning can all be effectively utilised to minimise the risks to these methods of offering water refills.


The safety of our users and your customers is our number one priority. Here in the Switzerland we’re lucky to have some of the best quality tap water in the world, that goes through an extremely stringent testing process before it reaches our taps. By following our guidance and checklist below, you are helping to make sure that refilling is safe and hygienic for everyone.


By signing up as a Refill Station offering water refills, you agree to provide wholesome and clean drinking water on request when someone asks for a refill.

All owners and occupiers of business premises have a responsibility to ensure that their plumbing system complies legally with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, and this applies to Refill Stations too. Water companies may occasionally carry out inspections on business premises, including Refill Stations, to ensure water safety and hygiene in line with the Regulations.

Your tap or dispenser

The tap or dispenser that you identify for Refill use should be a clean, hygienic stand-alone cold water tap and must not be located in the toilets or over an open drain.

All of your staff should be made aware that this is the tap designated for Refill use.

Keeping your Refill Station clean

If the tap used for refills hasn’t been used in a while, run the water for a short while first to clear any stale water from your plumbing system.

When providing refills, the bottle should never touch the tap or jug. Keep a clear gap to avoid any potential for contamination.

When someone hands over a bottle to be refilled always ask them to remove the lid themselves, and never touch your hand to the neck of the bottle/glass.

As a Refill Station, if someone’s bottle smells bad or looks unclean, you can refuse to refill.

By signing up as a Refill Station offering water refills, you agree to provide wholesome and clean drinking water on request when someone asks for a refill.


If you’ve got questions about what Refill is, how to sign up a Refill Station or how to set up your own Refill Scheme then we’re here to help.