Holiday Cooking Can Lead to Fatbergs

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Holiday cooking can lead to an increase in fatbergs and sewer overflows.

Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or a normal weekend breakfast, avoid damaging your plumbing by never rinsing cooking fats, oil and grease down the sink. Holiday cooking can wreak havoc on your home’s plumbing, neighborhood sewer lines and the environment if there are sewer overflows due to fatbergs. The good news is that all these headaches and nightmare scenarios are completely avoidable with proper and responsible food disposal habits.

No Turkey or Ham Grease Down the Sink

From Business Insider: Thanksgiving means turkey dinners, family gatherings and football. For household drains and aging sewers across the United States, it means a lot of grease going down the pipes – and into the sewers.

For some harried cooks, the simplest way to get rid of fat from turkeys, bacon and roasts is down the kitchen drain. There it congeals, clogging the pipe and trapping food scraps until the only solution is to call the plumber.

“The day after Thanksgiving is the perfect storm for us,” said Paul Abrams, a spokesman for Roto Rooter, the biggest U.S. plumbing and drain cleaning service. “We have all hands on deck.” The number of calls to the company’s 7,000 plumbers and drain experts that day jumps 50 percent over a normal Friday. Calls go up by a fifth over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, Abrams said.

Whether it is turkey drippings, vegetable oil or bacon grease they all need to be disposed of properly this Thanksgiving, and every day throughout the year. When you send a pan of oil or grease down your sink, it doesn’t take long for it to adhere to the sides of your plumbing and accumulate. The oil and grease congeal and lock in food scraps as well. This turns into a hard blockage (fatberg) that restricts the flow of wastewater. When wastewater has nowhere to go it comes back into your home causing major property and environmental damage.

Keep Dairy, Dressings and Food Scraps Out of Your Plumbing

Fats, oil and grease are found in a range of everyday foods. Salad dressing, melted butter, milk, sour cream, gravy, all of these items can lead to clogged plumbing in your home and horrible fatbergs in your neighborhood.

Here are some great tips from Florida Today on preventing FOG (fats, oils and grease) buildup in your plumbing:

  • Never pour cooking oil, pan drippings, bacon grease, salad dressings or sauces down the sink or toilet or into street gutters or storm drains.
  • Dispose of food scraps into the trash, not the sink.
  • Don’t use a garbage disposal or food grinder. Grinding food up before rinsing it down the drain does not remove FOG; it just makes the pieces smaller.
  • Place a catch basket or screen over the sink drain when rinsing dishware, or when peeling or trimming food, to catch small scraps that would otherwise be washed down the drain. Throw the scraps in the trash.

We are already seeing an uptick in fatbergs as we enter the fall and holiday cooking season. If we all take a moment to be mindful of our disposal habits and work on improving them, we can avoid fatbergs and sewer overflows in our own homes, neighborhoods, cities and environment.

Grease Hero Drain Guards Stop Fatbergs from Forming

Grease Hero is a convenient and hassle-free way of disposing of cooking fats, oils and grease after cooking a meal. The environmentally friendly drain guard is made of recycled materials and quickly absorbs the fats, oils and grease that you pour into it directly from your cooking pan. You then simply dispose of the entire drain guard into your trash or upcycle it at your city’s recycling facility.


Join our mission to save the environment. We aim to promote environmental, social and economic benefit, all while prioritizing the environment over our product life cycles… from the initial manufacture using recycled materials until final disposal.

Learn more about Grease Hero.

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