What is Unblocktober?

In the month of October Affinity for Business will be taking part in the world’s first month long national awareness campaign that will help improve the quality of our drains, sewers, watercourses and seas – and we would love it if you would take part too!

Whilst many of us have adopted a few unsustainable habits such as, pouring and flushing items down the sink or loo – this has caused our waterways distress that lead to damages such as fatbergs and plastic pollution. However, it’s not too late to save our planet! By taking part in Unblocktober, we all can make small changes to help be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. That’s why we’re giving you our top tips to help save our sewers and seas this Unblocktober.

£90M is spent every year on clearing fatbergs, according to Southern Water

Working with food

Unblocktober Fats, oils and grease

Whether you work in the restaurant business or simply have an office with a canteen, there are a few small changes you can make that will make a difference to unblocking our sewers and waterways. Firstly, you can commit to stop pouring the following items into your drains:

  • Cooking oil or fat – by pouring oil or fat down your drain, this can congeal and solidify to form blockages. To dispose of this correctly, you can transfer oils/fat into a sealable container and take it to your local recycling centre where most will take this waste for free. Once you’ve poured the waste into a container, it’s also worth wiping your pots and pans with kitchen roll throwing away any excess in the bin before rinsing in the sink or dishwasher.

48% of the nation pour fats oils and grease down their drains

  • Food, even crumbs! It’s important to scrape any leftover food from your plates and cooking equipment before washing up because many foods contain fats, oils and grease that can cause blockages very easily. These items can harden very quickly (even after they’ve been broken down with hot water!), making it difficult to pass through pipes.

Fats, oils and grease that must not go down your drain, include:

  • Butter
  • Cooking oil
  • Grease from cooking
  • Lard
  • Margarine
  • Sauces that contain any of the above ingredients

For more top tips, head over to our blog: The Unflushables! How to look after the toilets and drains in your workplace

Disposing of plastic and hidden plastics correctly

Unlike materials such as paper and cardboard, plastic is not biodegradable. Meaning plastic will not break down by microorganisms and can pollute our air, water and land if not disposed of correctly. Furthermore, this makes it hard for wildlife and marine life to live as they can get tangled in it or mistake it for food which sadly risks their lives. In fact, 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year, which is why it’s so important that materials containing plastic are disposed of correctly. You can do this by recycling items that are non-biodegradable.

Plastics can include:

  • Nappies
  • Cotton buds
  • Sanitary pads/towels
  • Contact lenses
  • Plasters
  • Dental floss

Other than the obvious everyday plastics, there are also many products that include hidden plastics in them. These can include:

  • Paper drink cups
  • Tea bags
  • Wet wipes 
  • Chewing gum
  • Condoms

Did you know 300,000 blockages are caused by wet wipes each year?!


For more information about Unblocktober and more information on how you can save our sewers and seas, head over to their website.

If your taking part we’d love to hear from you! Share your efforts with us on Twitter @affinityfb.




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