Disposal of fats, oils and grease for businesses

Stop and think - NOT down the sink!

In a busy kitchen fats, oils and grease (FOG) in liquid form can easily enter the sink. Even liquid oils can quickly solidify once in the sewer system, causing blockages to the kitchen drainage and downstream sewers. When they are discharged down kitchen sinks or foul drains they cause sewer blockages, and when discharged down rainwater pipes and gullies they cause pollution in local watercourses.

There are approximately 200,000 sewer blockages and pollution incidents throughout England and Wales every year, of which up to 75% are caused by fat, oils and grease. Clearing these blockages costs a million pounds year. Also, businesses risk blocking their own drainage systems, which will result in loss of income due to cleaning up costs. These fat blockages result in sewer flooding, odour problems and the risk of rat infestations near your premises.

Top tips to dispose of fats safely:

DoDo not
Do wipe and scrape plates, pans and utensils prior to washing (and put the waste into the bin)Do not put cooking oil, fat or grease down the sink.
Do collect waste oil in a suitable secure container.Do not pour waste oil, fat or grease down the drain.
Do arrange for oil to be collected by an approved and licensed waste contractor.Do not put food scrapings into the sink (place in the rubbish bin)
Do use strainers in sink plug holes (and empty contents into the bin).Do not sweep waste into floor drains (place rubbish in bin).
Do maintain Grease Traps and Enzyme Dosing equipment regularly.Do not pour boiling hot water down the sink to try to dissolve fat and grease. It does not work!

The simple guidelines above will significantly help to maintain free flowing water both within the drains of the restaurant and in the sewerage system.

Food service establishments have a legal and moral responsibility to make sure local communities and the environment are protected. Grease traps help to stop FOG from leaving your commercial kitchen, entering the sewer network, and causing nasty blockages. In short, they work by collecting your wastewater - which allows the FOG time to separate from the water, so it can be disposed of later. Meanwhile, the wastewater should be discharged into the sewers. If a water company discovers that the wrong things are going down the drain, they can give a notice of recharge, to recover the costs for damaging the sewer and sometimes prosecute the person or company responsible. If you are prosecuted, you could face an unlimited fine or even imprisonment.

For further advice please read Best Management Practice for Catering Establishments (PDF)