Most of the socialising around Christmas time revolves around celebratory meals. And rightly so! Work ‘dos’, family lunches, and pre-Christmas catch-ups with friends are all happening right now.
It’s all great fun isn’t it? But, it’s not so great if festive food waste – plus fats, oils, and grease (FOG) – ends up going down sinks and drains.
Why? Because all that Christmas grease and food debris causes blockages in the wastewater network. Those blockages can then lead to sewage backing up into people’s homes, gardens, and businesses – which is an awful thing to happen, causing misery and distress, not to mention the cost of it all.
And what’s more, sewer floods can pollute local streams, rivers and beaches – causing harm to wildlife. If that isn’t enough, the build-up of food waste in drains can also generate horrible smells and encourage rodent and insect infestations, which can become a public health issue.
That’s why we’re on a festive mission. While food business owners, chefs, and kitchen staff are busier than ever – our mission is to make sure the festive FOG goes in the bin, and not in the sewers.
We’re spreading the festive FOG message
As the festive season gets into full swing – we’re making sure the sewer networks don’t get the January blues as a result!
At the moment, our environmental inspectors are up and down the UK visiting food service establishments like: restaurants, hotels, pubs, cafes, and fast food outlets.
Our teams are busy doing kitchen audits, training kitchen staff on best management practice, and recommending actions for food businesses to take, so they reduce how much FOG they discharge into the sewer network.
That’s all normal for us, but as it’s Christmas, our environmental inspectors stopped to share their top ten tips for a FOG-free Christmas.
Top ten tips
Whether you’re a chef in a restaurant, or you’re at home cooking your turkey for the family – here’s what they had to say:
- “Simple things like rinsing greasy, gravy-stained plates under a running tap, means that the fat goes down the plughole and congeals in the pipes. So instead, before washing them up or putting them into the dishwasher – dry-wipe plates, utensils, cutlery, and pots and pans with a paper towel and then pop them in the bin.”
- “Get a sink strainer to catch any food debris like salad bits before it goes down the sink. That way, the food waste can be chucked into the bin and not the wastewater network we all depend upon to live our lives.”
- “After the Christmas dinners are done, don’t sweep rubbish into a floor drain. Use a dustpan and brush and empty it into the bin.”
- “If you’re a commercial kitchen, make sure you’ve got the right-sized grease trapping equipment in place to catch the fat before it goes down the pipes. We offer advice to food businesses about this, as part of our visits to them.”
- “Train all your kitchen staff on best management practice to stop fats, oils and grease from entering the public sewer. Or, if you’re a home cook, make sure your family and friends are doing the right thing too!”
- “Store all used cooking oil properly, and make sure it’s collected by a licensed waste haulier. Oh, and don’t forget to keep all paperwork associated with this for auditing purposes.”
- “Take all food macerators out of service. Instead, scrape all food waste directly into bins to stop waste food from entering the public sewer.”
- “If you’ve already got grease trapping equipment in place, make sure you maintain it. Check it’s regularly cleaned and looked after.”
- “If you’re at home, pour your used cooking oil from your roasties, or your turkey, into a container. Then, let it cool and harden before putting it into the bin.”
- “Don’t forget, it’s not just turkey fact that causes problems for sewers. It’s sauces, creams, gravies, and soups too.”
Happy Christmas from everybody at ECAS!