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Know your rights to free tap water and start saving money!

Lei Hang will show you how you can get free drinking water
Why pay for bottled water when you can get free drinking water?

Are you aware of your rights to free tap water from businesses and public buildings?

According to a study by Keep Britain Tidy only 25% of the public are aware of their rights to free drinking water from businesses and public buildings. Many of us ask for a glass of tap water when we are out for a meal to save some money. So why be ashamed to ask for some free drinking water when not purchasing anything from the restaurant or pub?Knowing your rights to free tap water can save you a lot of money and our environment!

I remember when I used to buy bottles of water or a bottles of juice, when I was out and felt thirsty. I can’t imagine how much money I’ve spent over the years to quench my thirst when I was out for a walk or shopping. Another thing I was thinking about is how many plastic bottles have I thrown away. And what is the carbon footprint of these single use plastics that I’ve binned?

How I save money & be more eco-friendly at the same time

Lei Hang bought a Strawberry Chilly's bottle for herself and a Pineapple Chilly's bottle for Yasmin. Yasmin is happily showing the fruit monogram stainless steel flask water bottles.
Yasmin with our pineapple & strawberry Chilly’s bottles.

About a year ago I’ve purchased two 500ml colorful, double walled, insulated flask bottles by Chilly’s. These durable, reusable water bottles are one of the best things I’ve bought. As the 500ml bottles were too big for Yasmin to take to school, I’ve also got her a 250ml S’well bottle. Chilly’s flasks bottles keep drinks cold for 24 hours and hot drinks hot for 12 hours. S’well on the other hand keep drinks cold for 48 hours and hot drinks hot for 24 hours! My daughter Yas and I like to keep our drinks cold, especially during the hot summer months. Usually when I get a cold bottle of water from the shops, the water doesn’t stay cold for long during the hot days. Who wants warm drinking water when there is a heat wave?

Since my bestie Iz got me the Brita Carafe water filter, I’ve ditched the bottled water at home too. I usually filter tap water using the carafe and keep it in the fridge to keep my water cool. I then pour the cold filtered water into these flask for Yas to take to school with her, when we are out of the house or for me to take it with me to the gym with my BCAA pre-workout supplement. By doing so I’ve reduced my year carbon emissions by 279.4kg CO2. I feel good, knowing that I’ve massively reduced the negative impact on our planet by leading a greener lifestyle and am saving over £85 per year on bottled water.

So where can you and can’t you ask for free tap water?

Licensed premises

The Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions) Order 2014 and Guidance on Mandatory Licensing Conditions by the government state that all licensed premises in England and Wales are legally required to provide “free portable water”. Scotland has the same thing but its under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 stating: ” Tap water fir for drinking myst be provided free of charge on request.”. This means that all restaurants, takeaways, hotels, pubs, bars, cafes, theaters, cinemas and community halls licensed to serve alcohol have to supply you with free tap water if you ask.

These premises are required by law to offer free tap water on request, but they can charge for using a glass or their service when serving the “Free” drinking water. Therefore it’s a good idea to invest in one of those S’well or Chilly’s water bottles to avoid using their glasses. However any reusable drinking bottle would do.

Unlicensed premises

In the UK, unlicensed premises aren’t legally required to provide free drinking water. Meaning as long as these premises do not serve alcohol, they don’t have to provide you with free tap water.

Want free tap water abroad? Not a problem!

Picture by Refill

There is a website and free app called Refill, showing 30,000 free drinking water refill stations around the globe. It also shows the 105 chains that have signed up to the Refill scheme. Some of the big companies that have partnered with Refill include: Starbucks, Neal’s Yard Remedies, John Lewis and Lush.

If you like freebies, have a look at these 7 Free Apps that literally pay you to walk!