Roast dinners might be delicious but no one jumps up from the table to do the dishes! Shifting those meat fats (yes you’ve been there) can take a lot of effort and pouring the deposits into the sink feels like the easiest solution at the time. These actions seem small and insignificant, but are meaning some sewer systems are harboring a ticking time bomb of a drainage disaster: fatbergs.
Fatbergs are large disgusting deposits of fat, grease, oils and sanitary items that collect and congeal in sewer systems, sometimes causing complete blockages. Last month, a 130-tonne fatberg was found in East London, measuring 250 metres long, and although no one person is to blame, businesses are major contributors to such incidents because of their large water and wastewater usage, in fact 90% of London’s eateries are contributing to fatbergs.
But fear not! Here are some do’s and dont’s on ensuring your business isn’t contributing to fatbergs:
Manage the milk! That carton of milk lurking in the office fridge might be sour, but pouring it down the drain can lead to serious consequences – so serious that it can lead to financial or custodial sentences for businesses in the UK. Milk is classified as a 3 ABP product, meaning that it is a highly pollutant substance that can harm aquatic life in the watercourse. It has a high oxygen demand as a result of the bacteria that feed on it, and therefore uses oxygen that is usually used by aquatic life. Milk can therefore quite literally suffocate aquatic life and become a major contributor to polluting water and damaging sewer systems. So the next time you find an expired carton of milk, think twice! Unused milk should be incinerated, used in composting, or sent to a landfill.
To flush or bin? In addition to milk, there are a number of other items that should not go down the drain; kitchen roll, wet wipes, sanitary items, cotton buds and plasters should all be binned and not flushed. Make sure all of your businesses’ toilets carry a reminder of what to flush and what to bin.
Separate the grime from the good! Catering and restaurant businesses should train staff not to put oils and fats down the drain. Liquids should be cooled until they’re solidified and then put in the bin. If businesses are using oils and fats on a larger scale, they should consider installing a grease trap. This intercepts oil and grease before it gets into the drains.
So next time you’re battling the grime on your dishes, think again before pouring that fat down the plughole. Sometimes fatbergs aren’t identified until it reaches near homes and businesses. So it might not seem like a big issue, but it will be if your office toilets are blocked!
Fatbergs are the stuff of nightmares, so why not create your very own fatberg costume for this year’s office Halloween party…
What you will need:
- Padding or 2 x white pillows
- A sheet with a hole cut out the middle for your head
- Cotton wool balls
- Safety pins
- Green paint
- Milk carton cut into two halves
- Empty cooking oil bottle cut into two halves
And if you want to make it really realistic add;
- Sanitary towels
- 2 x Nappies
How to make your fatberg
- Open out the sheet and glue on the milk carton and cooking oil bottles
- Splash with green paint
- Cover in glue and stick on your cotton wall balls
- Now liberally spray with ketchup and mayonnaise
- If you want to get really realistic, stick on the sanitary towels, contraceptives and nappies
- Now attach the two pillows or your padding to your front and back using rope
- Next cover yourself with the (now disgusting) white sheet, with your head coming out the top and secure around your waist using safety pins
- Now you’re ready to scare all your colleagues and convince them of the importance of disposing of waste properly!