Keep the FOG monster at bay this Christmas

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 17 December 2018

Now the countdown to Christmas is well and truly underway thoughts will be turning to preparations of, what for many, is the biggest meal of the year. But delicious though it will surely be for the diners, the aftermath of Christmas lunch could be a complete drama for our sewers and ultimately our seas.

FOG Christmas
© Daughter /

Fatbergs in UK sewers cost water companies (and their customers) millions of pounds to remove

Doing the dishes after lunch in readiness for the Queen’s Christmas message means corners may be cut in getting everything cleared away at speed. But, if you don’t get rid of your festive fats, oils and greases (FOGs) properly, you could be damaging the water quality at your favourite beach - which is bad news all round.

But how does this happen? How do your kitchen sink habits compromise our coastal water cleanliness?

If you pour used cooking fat, meat juices or leftover food down the sink, even with hot water and washing up liquid, the fat can quickly set hard in the cold pipes. When it mixes with other unflushable items, such as wet wipes and sanitary products, it creates what is known as a FATBERG.

Fatbergs have been in news following the discovery of one in the sewers beneath London that was 250 metres long and weighed 130 tonnes.

Whilst this Fatberg was a real monster, any unnecessary blockages can stop the waste water reaching the treatment works as intended. This means the risk of sewage spilling out into homes, streets, rivers and ultimately the seas can be substantially increased. To avoid this happening all that’s needed is to make sure all leftover FOGs are put in the bin rather than poured down the sink:

Scrape or pour leftover fat from roasting trays and pans into a heat resistant container then recycle or bin it once cooled

Wipe out grease left in pans with kitchen roll before washing and put the grease soaked paper towel in the bin

Use a sink strainer to catch any greasy food scraps and dispose of the those in the bin too

This Christmas, MCS is supporting the #binIt4beaches campaign to raise awareness of the damage fats, oils and greases can do to our environment. It would be great to get your support too. If you have a social media account, please pop this on your Twitter account or post it on your Facebook feed. It could stop the formation of a festive fatberg:

Fats, oils and grease from #Christmas cooking can cause major problems in pipes, drains and sewers which can lead to flooding and pollution in our seas. Pour used fats, oil and grease into a separate pot, allow to cool and dispose of in the bin #binit4beaches @mcsuk

Don’t feed the fatberg!

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