Fats, Oils and Greases
KNOW YOUR DRAINS
Did you know that drains from kitchen sinks are only designed for washing up water and leftover drinks? Waste cooking oil, food scraps, coffee grounds, gravies and other foodstuffs containing fat and grease cause blockages if they go down the plughole.
Pouring fats, oils and grease (or FOGs, as we like to call them!) down the kitchen sink can cause drain and sewer clogs that will block the flow of wastewater from your home to the sewage treatment works. FOGs mix with other food waste and wet wipes to congeal and harden in the pipes. If clogs occur, this yucky wastewater can overflow into your home, garden, street or road, and into local waterways. One way to ensure clog free sinks and drains is by properly disposing of all fats, oils and grease after cooking and eating your meal.
Waste Cooking Oil
Waste cooking oils – these are vegetable based oils that are liquid at room temperature – can be collected and poured, once cooled, into an empty bottle. This can then be taken to your nearest Household Recycling Centre to be recycled. This waste cooking oil is then used to create renewable energy, with one litre providing enough energy to make 240 cups of tea! Fancy a brew?!
A common error is for people to wash up a cooking pan, tray or saucepan without wiping and scraping excess fat off first. You should pour the excess fats into a suitable old container and once cooled, you can then dispose of the container by placing the resulting solid fats into your food waste bin. If you didn’t collect it, look at what could be going down the pipes!
This gunk pot shows the fat leftover from cooking one small meat based meal! The great news is that if deposited in the food waste bin, this fat can then be used for good and is recycled into fertiliser and energy!
Food scraps, dairy and sauces
Other common misconceptions are that items, such as coffee grounds, yoghurts, cream, gravy, salad dressings, cheese and food scraps washing off plates, do not cause any problems for our drains and sewage systems. Many of these fatty foodstuffs will congeal and mix with other fats and oils and can eventually cause blockages. Again, if this waste can’t be avoided, it can be scraped out of the container or plate and put into the food waste bin to be recycled.
Campaigns and resources
We continue to promote these messages on our social media channels to make people aware of the problems that can arise from disposing of FOGs incorrectly, using the hashtag #DontFeedAFatberg.
Additionally, through our Business Award Scheme, we also encourage local businesses to make sure they are aware of FOGs and how they should be disposed of. This includes installing sink strainers and displaying posters. Find out more about the scheme here.
What you can do to help…
- Reduce food waste wherever possible.
- Wipe and scrape greasy oily pots, pans, plates, and utensils before washing them.
- Use strainers in the sink to catch food waste.
- Avoid putting cooking fats (collect in a container and allow to cool) and foods such as dairy products, gravies, sauces, spreads, and coffee grounds down the sink, put them in the food waste bin instead.
- Collect waste cooking oil and recycle at the household recycling centre.
- Only flush the 3 P’s; pee, poo and paper.
In your business
If you run a commercial kitchen:
- Make sure all staff are aware of the same steps as recommended for private home kitchens.
- If haven’t got one already, find out about and install a suitable fat trap to prevent grease and fat from going down the drain.
- Recycle your cooking oil and food waste so that it can be converted into energy.
- Apply for a Litter Free Business Award to check what other things you can do to help to improve the water quality around your local area! Once achieved this will let your customers know the steps you are taking to protect the environment.
Out and about
- Use a bin – any litter dropped down the drains can either contribute to blockages at the treatment works or if they are connected to the waterways end up in rivers and/or the sea. Cigarette butts are commonly found in drains and cause blockages as well as litter pollution. They contain plastic and harmful chemicals and are particularly dangerous for wildlife. Special pocket stubby pouches are available to smokers enabling safe disposal whilst out and about.
- Choose to support facilities that are managed to best to protect the environment if you can.
Useful Links and videos
For a handy video explaining how the food waste collection service works and what to put in:
There is useful information on the Wessex Water website: