Advice to help cooks avoid the dreaded 'fatberg'

While there are many thing you can do with used fat and oil, pouring it down the drain is not one of them. Putting it down the drain can lead to severe blockages in main drains and sewers, as was seen in Oxford recently.

To help keep the county’s drains clean, the county council is advising residents to either recycle it by putting it in your food waste bin – make sure it is cold and soak larger amounts into newspaper first – or order a “fat trap” from Thames Water.

Matt Beesley, waste management service officer from Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Cooking oil is a valuable resource and putting it down the drain not only causes blockages but means it is going to waste. All types of oil can be recycled by putting small amounts into your food waste recycling bin. If you have larger amounts it can be soaked into newspaper first.”

Food collected for recycling in Oxfordshire goes to one of three plants within the county, where it is turned into renewable energy and fertiliser for local farms.

Thames Water spends £12 million a year clearing blockages of fat, oil and grease from its network and has to clear 55,000 blockages a year.

When fat and oil congeal inside a sewer it hardens, blocking the sewer and increasing the risk of properties suffering from sewer flooding.

Karen Nelson, Thames Water sewer manager for the Oxford area said: “Blockages in the sewer network caused by cooking fat is something my team have to deal with every day.

“In the worst cases, blockages lead to homes being flooded by sewage, which is a horrible and distressing experience for our customers.

“We would urge people to keep their sewers running by remembering to ‘Bin It – Don’t Block It’.”

Order a free fat trap from Thames Water by going to: http://www.thameswater.co.uk/help-and-advice/9137.htm

For more information on recycling visit www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/waste or call 08450 504550.