Fatberg prevention needs to start with education and outreach. The visceral response of seeing a congealed lump of fats, oils, grease, food scraps, wet wipes, diapers, and other items that form these massive fatbergs growing beneath cities, shows that people are both intrigued and disgusted. Fatbergs are not a recent phenomenon, yet in recent years they have been making headlines all around the world.
Why Fatbergs Form
As infrastructure and sewer systems age, especially in older cities, they struggle to manage the disposal of everyday products like fats, oils and greases from cooking. Fatbergs form because people are eager to get rid of household items that are simply “gross”. Most people aren’t eager to keep a jar of used cooking oil and animal fat in their kitchen—the look and the smell of them are often bad enough that people just want to get them out of their house as quick as possible—and the first place they look to is the kitchen sink.
It doesn’t take long for the accumulation of the fats, oils and greases to start piling up in plumbing and city sewer systems. Once these items start to bond, they then collect other items that are rinsed down the sink and flushed down the toilet. In a very short amount of time, a fatberg forms.
Fatberg Prevention Measures
Current measures aimed at preventing fatbergs tend to focus on removing sewer blockages and reducing the fats, oils and greases that enter sewers from commercial sources (such as restaurants). “But around three quarters of the fats, oils and greases in sewers comes from domestic sources, making household disposal a key priority for change.” (The Conversation)
Water and sewer utilities have been conducting awareness campaigns that focus on what people rinse down the kitchen sink and flush down the toilet. However, it is well known that changing behavior can be challenging.
“In a recent report we suggest that changing people’s broader behavior related to food waste and disposal of fatty products is not going to be easy to change – and that we also need to look beyond the plughole.” (The Conversation)
The Museum of London did a great job of talking about fatberg prevention with their renowned exhibit and one of the more progressive education ideas we have recently seen is the pop-up shop from South West Water in Sidmouth. This pop-up shop aimed to educate the public about waste disposal through interactive education (a VR experience and test-your-knowledge activities) outreach. We believe that educating the public through these type of measures is key to preventing future ‘monster’ fatbergs.
Responsibly Dispose of Fats, Oils and Grease with FOG Safe Drain Guards
The FOG Safe Drain Guard is designed to be placed into the top of your kitchen drain or on your countertop. You can quickly and easily pour the used cooking fat, oil or grease (FOG) into it, and then promptly dispose of the entire drain guard, instead of rinsing these harmful contaminants down the kitchen sink. Our FOG Safe Drain Guard is made with recyclable materials to absorb the fats, oils and grease and can be thrown out with your regular garbage. See a FOG Safe Drain Guard in action over on our FOG Safe YouTube channel.
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