How you can prevent a Christmas fat-berg crisis

Everywhere I look this week, there's food - lots of food.  Chocolates, cakes, mince pies, and we've even had another Christmas dinner this last weekend.  I love festive food, but it is usually quite high in fat.  As a seasonal treat, I don't mind the extra calories when it tastes so good, plus everybody is over-indulging so we're all in the same boat really.
At this time of year, everybody seems to be gearing up for the main event on Christmas day, with the majority of families choosing to cook a roast turkey with all the trimmings.  It's just so good, but have you ever considered how you dispose of your cooking oils and fats on the big day?  If you add up the amount of fats and oils that must be used on Christmas day after a big breakfast and Christmas lunch, it must be an incredible amount.
The guys at United Utilities have been in touch to ask me to help spread the word about how we can all be more careful with how we get rid of waste oil products in their aim to prevent the increase of the dreaded fat-berg.
Fat-bergs build up in underground pipes when hot fat is poured down the sink and then solidifies in underground pipes.  It builds up and up until it blocks the drains which then results in burst pipes and floods. In the North West, where I live, 2.9 million stones of fat are poured down the plughole every year.  Wow!

Get the facts!

•Where does all this fat come from? The answer could be a fondness for frying. According to a study into the region’s “fat habits”, which examined how we eat, cook and dispose of the calorific culprit, one in five North West residents fry food at least three days a week. 

•The study was conducted by water company United Utilities to discover more about the fat which all too often ends up down our drains.

•United Utilities attends over 53,000 call-outs to pipe blockages every year at a cost of £20 million.

•The water company wants to help people learn how they can keep their own drains healthy, as many people don’t know that water companies aren’t responsible for fixing blockages on domestic properties. Insurance companies often won’t pay out if the problem was caused by fats, oils and grease.

•The aim of the study was to understand more about how people use and dispose of fats to better tackle the issue. It found that many people (47%) dispose of fat and food waste by pouring it down the sink or loo, rather than putting it in the bin, even though over 60% know that doing so will cause blockages and damage to pipes.

•The study also found that people are keen for change. Over 80% of people want to ditch their bad cooking habits and lose weight by eating more healthily.

What you can do to help.

Try to collect the fat you use in a container, which can then be placed in the bin.  You can also use kitchen roll to wipe out pans etc. before you wash them in the sink or dishwasher.
If you would like more advice, you can find out more at where there are some top tips to help keep your drains in tip top condition.
If everybody does their bit this Christmas, it could make a massive difference to the environment and our drains.
How do you dispose of your excess oils and fats?
Nicola x

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