Don't feed the fatbergs! Help stop these monsters from taking over!
HOME & GARDEN | October 1, 2018

Don't feed the fatbergs! Help stop these monsters from taking over!

Imagine the horror of confronting a fatberg in the wild: a sewer-choking, rat-infested, stinking hulk of congealed cooking oil and meat fat, nappies, cotton buds, sanitary pads, condoms and dental floss, all glommed together with poo and a hundred-thousand-fold tangle of our flushed wet wipes.

Those of a claustrophobic or delicate disposition may want to skip the following video! In it, poor Chris, a sewer engineer from Thames Water, bravely attempts to dislodge a particularly noxious fatberg from a cramped London sewer:

Fatbergs aren't just creating (literally) tons of the worst kind of work for those who keep our sewers flowing. The tailbacks behind blockages often leaves upstream households without working toilets or with a seriously unhealthy flood on their hands, plus the time and manpower needed to break up the fatbergs costs millions, adding to all of our water bills.

The good news is that we can prevent the rise of the fatbergs from the comfort of our own homes. Be a hero and join the fight now...

Starve fatbergs at the kitchen sink

Did you know, British households sluice seven Olympic swimming pools' worth of fat and cooking oil down our sinks every year? Let's think of Chris and his comrades and dispose of our meat drippings, chip fat and vegetable oils properly.

>> Reuse large amounts of cooking oil or fat. Leave the fat to cool for a few minutes then pour through a sieve or filter. Discarding any bits, put the filtered liquid into an old clean jar and leave in the fridge overnight. Next day, skim off and throw away the jelly-like surface layer and use the remainder as usual.

>> When you remove cooked meat from a pan, use any residual fat to sauté your veggies instead of adding more oil.

>> Wipe out excess grease or oil from dishes and pans with a piece of kitchen towel before putting them in the dishwasher or washing up at the sink.

>> Leftover fat, suet or lard can be melted and mixed into a seed cake as a treat for our feathered friends.

>> Collect your leftover oil and fat for recycling into biofuels. Most councils accept cooking oil at their recycling centres – why not log in and check where your nearest collection point is using the Nearby Recycling tab on your Greenredeem account page?

Starve fatbergs at the toilet

The advice from the water companies couldn't be much more straightforward. Altogether now... Nothing down the loo, but paper, pee and poo! Nothing down the loo, but paper, pee and poo! NOTHING DOWN THE LOO, BUT PAPER, PEE AND POO! Got it? Good.

A special don't-ever-ever-ever-flush mention for wet wipes, cleaning wipes, makeup remover wipes, antibacterial wipes and moist toilet wipes. This fatberg fodder is a menace: even the so-called 'flushable' brands are toilet and sewer blockers. And if you chuck instead of flush? Well, our landfills are packing in millions upon millions of non-recyclable, non-biodegradable wipes each and every day. Let's stop this!

Can we say goodbye when we've become so used to the convenience of a pack of wipes? Can anyone remember what we used before? And how will we get that extra clean feeling?!

>> Swap moist toilet wipes for a natural toilet spray. A quick couple of spritzes of a 'bidet in a bottle' on a couple of sheets of folded toilet paper and your bum will be sparkling fresh. Plain water in a clean old spray bottle works a treat, though you can mix up this soothing aloe vera and essential oil version if you want to treat yourself.

>> Swap 'on-the-go' wet wipes for a ziplock bag of dampened cotton cloths. Add a drop or two of tea tree oil to the moistening water for natural antibacterial and antifungal potency.

>> Swap cleaning and antibacterial wipes for a washable cotton cloth and a naturally antiseptic vinegar spray. Certain studies have suggested that overuse of artificial antibacterial products, including wipes and hand sanitiser, is contributing to decreasing antibiotic efficiency – and could even do more harm than good.

>> Swap alcohol-based makeup remover wipes for a gentle cream cleanser and a soft washable cloth. Clever new formulations demolish even waterproof mascara while leaving your face soft. Frugalistas cut up and hem old cotton sheets, or invest in a multipack of baby muslins, and then wash a batch each week.

Commemorative sewer cover for Whitechapel fatberg

Have you joined the fight against monster fatbergs? Share your thoughts and comments with Greenredeem via Twitter and Facebook.

>> 7 things you can do today to cut plastic waste in our seas

>> Nasty nappies are messing up our recycling – can you help?