Thames Water is asking customers to avoid washing grease from their Christmas dinners down their drains this Christmas because it blocks sewers. The company says 500 tonnes of fat is expected to go down customers’ drains over the festive period – the equivalent of almost 1.8million standard blocks of lard.
Rob Smith, who works as a Thames Water ‘flusher’, digging out blockages in the sewers under London, said: “This is our busiest time of year, when an estimated 25 per cent more fat, oil and grease is poured down the drains as people enjoy their Christmas dinners.”
Smith says blockages caused by fat and grease account for “more than half the 60,000 blockages we have to clear each year.”
“When people pour fat down the sink it quickly cools in the sewer, mixes with everyone else’s grease and then sets hard causing nasty blockages and making sewage back-up.”
Thames Water issues the following advice for disposing of fat, oil and grease:
- Cooking fat should be poured into an old container or wrapped up once it has cooled – this can then be disposed of appropriately in the bin.
- In cold weather, fat with a high nutritional content – such as beef or lamb fat – can be mixed with seeds, dried fruit and food scraps to make nutritious bird feed.
- Fats from meat can also be put to great use on Christmas day by dding turkey fat to gravy or using goose fat to roast potatoes.