In November 2022, we became the first-ever winner of the Business Champion of the Year Award at the Unblocktober Awards.
Unblocktober is a global environmental awareness campaign that takes place every October. It’s managed by The Lanes Group – endorsed by the water industry – and is designed to change the habits of individuals and businesses to protect the sewers and seas.
It’s focused on influencing what people allow to go down their plugholes, toilets, and drains to prevent blockages that lead to sewer flooding and environmental pollution in our waters.
Jacob Larkin, the spokesperson for Unblocktober, said: “When selecting our first ever Unblocktober Business Champion of the Year, we couldn’t ask for a better candidate than ECAS. This is a business that truly embodies the values of Unblocktober all year round, and the ECAS team has gone above and beyond to spread our message while making meaningful contributions to driving the campaign’s goals forward throughout October and beyond.
“The Unblocktober Awards are designed to recognise businesses and individuals with a genuine passion for protecting our sewers and seas. If we are going to be able to make a difference in changing our drainage habits for the better, it will be thanks to companies like ECAS and the values they so consistently demonstrate.”
WHY WE CONSISTENTLY SUPPORT UNBLOCKTOBER
ECAS has championed the Unblocktober campaign for as long as we can remember, but we first heard about it on social media.
The nature of our work means we’re always steadfast supporters of this critical campaign, as it reinforces everything we do.
Our job is to spread the sewer misuse message all year round, not just in October. On behalf of water companies, our environmental inspectors visit commercial kitchens and show staff how to correctly dispose of their fats, oils, grease (FOG) and food waste to protect the sewers and the environment.
Our domestic education officers educate households on what they should and shouldn’t be putting down plugholes and toilets.
We see the Unblocktober campaign as a vehicle for bringing to life the messages we deliver daily.
WHAT WE DID IN OCTOBER 2022 TO SUPPORT UNBLOCKTOBER
In October 2022, our teams made around 5,000 visits to businesses and households across England and Scotland to spread the sewer misuse message.
We spent time in commercial kitchens in blockage hotspot areas. While there, we worked with kitchen staff and reviewed their kitchen practices to see if they could do anything differently to trap FOG at source, rather than allowing it to escape down pipes and cause a blockage. For example, by making sure they had grease-trapping equipment in place.
On the domestic front, we spent time in communities within blockage hotspot areas and spoke to households about the ‘Three P’s’ message i.e., that they should only flush Poo, Pee, and toilet Paper down the loo.
We always use social media to reinforce the sewer misuse message. However, our social media feed was peppered with Unblocktober messages in October, exploiting the relevant hashtags. We asked some of our employees to record their commitment to the campaign on video, to drum up more support. And we were delighted to be invited by Severn Trent – one of our clients – to be part of their ‘Grossbusters’ movie!
Outside of work, we practice what we preach. Our people come to work for ECAS because they’re passionate about protecting the environment and helping others do the same.
WHY LEADERSHIP ON THIS TOPIC IS NEEDED ALL YEAR ROUND
Our work helps to shift the dial on sewer misuse all year round, and it’s essential the industry is spreading the Unblocktober message throughout the other 11 months on the calendar. Otherwise, the impact of blockages will continue to cause harm to the environment at the cost of water bill payers.
Our goal is to help reduce blockages, sewer floods, and pollution incidents to benefit everybody. We also want to help water companies to meet their own environmental objectives.
We aim to help reduce:
– The 300,000 sewer blockages there are annually in the UK
– The £100m it costs UK water bill payers to deal with blockages
– The 40,453 incidents there are each year where sewage has flooded areas of private land or gardens
We aim to help increase:
– The number of water companies that get a four-star Environmental Performance Assessment from Ofwat
– The percentage of rivers at ‘good’ or ‘better’ status in England and Wales
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