Bin your turkey fat and help keep the region’s pipes clear this Christmas

Over a million turkeys will be cooked for Christmas dinner in the Anglian region. Picture: Thinksto

Over a million turkeys will be cooked for Christmas dinner in the Anglian region. Picture: Thinkstock - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

David Hartley from Anglian Water explains why it’s wise to dispose of your Christmas cooking fats properly.

A fatberg made up of fat, oil and grease being pulled from a sewerage pipe

A fatberg made up of fat, oil and grease being pulled from a sewerage pipe - Credit: Archant

The festive period is here and everyone is starting to plan and prepare for their Christmas lunch - it’s our favourite Yuletide tradition and a staggering one million turkeys will be consumed in our region alone this year.

Now, we know that nobody wants to do the Christmas washing up but, whether you’re doing the job yourself or you’ve passed the buck to someone else, there’s one festive tradition that we’re asking everyone to adopt this year, and it has to do with your Christmas turkey, or it’s fat to be precise.

Increased food waste

Fatbergs can be huge and block pipes

Fatbergs can be huge and block pipes - Credit: Archant

We all like to eat to excess over Christmas, and this often means that there’s an increase in food waste to be disposed of over at thsi time of year, sometimes at the detriment to our sewers. Unbeknownst to most people, cooking fat seems easy to dispose of, especially when in it’s a warm liquid. However, fat quickly cools and hardens, and once it’s washed down the kitchen sink it coats sewer walls and pipes, restricting the flow of water and increasing the likelihood of blockages or flooding.

Fat also binds with other items that have also been wrongfully disposed of, such as wipes, cotton buds and sanitary items, known as “unflushables” – all of which should be binned instead. Altogether they can create a ‘not-so-merry’ Christmas.


A drain blocked with fat and grease

A drain blocked with fat and grease - Credit: Archant

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Our staff have been clearing thousands of blockages from our region’s pipes this year. There has been more than 40,000 blockages in East Anglia alone – costing us a whopping £15million to clear - bill payers money which could ultimately be better spent elsewhere.

And 80% of these blockages are completely avoidable and often come from the wrongful disposal of fats, oils and greases, and can lead to flooding and environmental pollution. By changing your behaviour slightly and disposing of your Christmas fat correctly, you can keep our region’s pipes and sewers clear this year.

Regan Harris from Anglian Water said: “This Christmas, it’s estimated more than one million turkeys will be eaten in the Anglian region. Each turkey produces three-quarters of a pint of fat, meaning some 250 tonnes of fat – equivalent to one million blocks of butter or two blue whales – could be washed down the drains and can cause a major headache.

“We have to clear a blockage once every 15 minutes due to the amount of fats, oils and greases that find their way into our region’s sewers. Blockages lead to sewage spills, and if this happens on your property the repair bill will be one Christmas present you definitely don’t want.

“Our advice to anyone cooking Christmas dinner is to let fat cool and then scrape it into your bin, or use some newspaper to scoop it up and put in your food caddy or composter. You’ll be saving yourself a lot of inconvenience as well as protecting your home and the local environment from nasty sewage spills.”

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