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Every day, more than 15 million people in London and the Thames Valley flush or drain 2.8 billion litres of used water for treatment.
In total, we clear around 75,000 blockages from our sewers each year. The majority of these are caused by cooking fats and oils, which congeal in the sewers forming a thick layer around the pipe. Add wet wipes, sanitary products and cotton pads to the recipe and you’ve got a real beast on your hands.
Over time, fatbergs block pipes entirely, forcing raw sewage right back to where it came from. Clue: it’s wherever there’s a sink, a drain or a toilet.
Follow these tips to fight the fatberg and prevent your pipes from getting blocked:
Bin the nasties
Wipes, condoms, plastic, sanitary products, cotton wool, and dental floss are some of the biggest offenders in our sewers. Avoid a blockage by always throwing them in the bin, rather than flushing them down the toilet.
But it's flushable?
Many companies market products as ‘flushable’. The truth is, wipes contain plastic so don’t break down like toilet paper does. They may flush, but they may not completely leave your drains so put them in the bin to be safe. Look out for the Fine to Flush logo, this major development in the fight against fatbergs is the new official standard identifying which wet wipes can be flushed down toilets safely.
Switch it up
There are loads of wet wipe alternatives on the market now, why not try a few? You’ll be helping the planet in more ways than one. You eco-legend!
Got some old gravy leftover from the Sunday roast? Resist the temptation to tip old food down the kitchen sink and be sure to chuck it in the bin. If it’s more of a ‘liquid’ food such as gravy, use some kitchen roll to soak it up and then chuck the paper in the bin.
Fat, oil and grease
Cooking fat and oils will eventually turn solid and build up in your pipes. It's not surprising that this can block your whole system. Instead of pouring fats and oils down the sink, collect them in a container (such as a yogurt pot or jam jar) and leave them to cool down.
Once set, you can scoop them out and pop them straight in the bin. Your local council may also have a special way to dispose of fat, oil and grease. Please check with them for more information.
Know your Ps
The three Ps is the best rule to remember when it comes to what’s flushable. Pee, poo, paper and nothing else. It really is that simple!
Become an Everyday Sewper Hero
Help us fight the fatberg by championing not throwing nasties into the toilet, down the kitchen sink, or into the street. Do you know someone that does? Let them know the dangers of feeding the fatberg and blocking their pipes.