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Fats, oils and grease

A major type of household waste are fats, oils and greases  or ‘FOGs’.  In liquid form they may appear suitable to pour down sinks and drain. However, when they start to cool down they solidify and harden causing them to stick to the walls of both your drainage pipes and public sewers. Over time these build up on the walls of the pipes causing the flow of water to be restricted, resulting in blockages, these are often referred to as ”Fatbergs”.  During periods of heavy rainfall these blockages can make the sewers back up, causing untreated wastewater to  overflow into our streams and the sea.

Some ways to dispose of your Fats oils and grease:-

  • Pour any oil or grease that is left in pans into a sealable container that can then be placed with your other household rubbish, or
  • Leave to congeal and harden before scraping off with disposable kitchen towels.
  • All utensils, plates, pots and pans should be scraped and wiped with a disposable kitchen towel before washing them in the sink or putting them in the dishwasher. The kitchen towels should be disposed of in a bin and put out with the household waste.
  • Have a sink strainer to prevent any food waste or peelings from entering your drains.

Did you know?  
Pouring boiling water or bleach down your sink to dissolve fats, oils or grease does not work?

The Chemistry, in simple terms, is that water, hot or cold, is a polar solvent, and fat is a non-polar molecule which means that they just don’t mix together. One way to think of it is the + and – on a magnet.  Water at boiling point is not strong enough on it own to break down solidified fats.  Bleach is generally an oxidising agent which acts by clumping proteins in bacteria together, or it works on the molecules in colour to whiten them.  Solidified fat is a different chemical combination that is not affected by household bleach.

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