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Monthly Archives: August 2018

  • The History Of Grease Traps

    Grease traps - a topic only recently emerging into the public consciousness following widespread publicity surrounding the discovery of huge fatbergs; the scourge of the sewers. Found lurking in the depths below our feet, fuelled by changing lifestyles and diets, these monsters have become prevalent in many cities worldwide. But where did grease traps originate and how have they developed through the years?

    Grease Trap Debut

    Surprisingly not a contemporary topic, grease traps are, in fact, a part of environmental history… albeit not a well-known part. Emerging under many guises, grease traps, grease interceptors, grease recovery units, they all have a sole purpose – to prevent fats, oil and grease (affectionately known as FOG for short) from entering the worlds sewer systems.

    Enter Nathanial Whiting, an American visionary that patented the first rudimentary grease trap in the late 19th Century. Although basic and crude in design, this original patent is what all modern systems derive from.

    The first documentation for the use of grease traps was in the Victorian period when the sewer system was invented and put into action. This fact clearly shows that the negative impact that FOG has on sewers was evident even then. Although use was sporadic and not obligatory, the roots of the war against grease had taken hold, roots that have continued to grow and broaden over the last 100 years.

    Basic Design

    The basic design of modern day grease traps is remarkably similar to the original Victorian edition. Basically, a box positioned between the source of grease and the wastewater outlet, FOG is prevented from passing any further, trapped until cleaned out, treated and responsibly disposed of. Over the years, as materials, manufacturing processes and general understanding have progressed the basic principle has evolved to become more efficient in design and use. Now constructed using a range of materials such as stainless steel, epoxy coated steel and even plastic, today’s grease traps can be positioned inside, outside, above or below ground to accommodate the differing needs of every business. While passive grease traps (also referred to as manual or gravity operated) are the standard addition to foodservice operations presently, the more effective Automatic Grease Traps (or Grease Recovery Unit, GRU) are rapidly growing in popularity.

    Bringing Grease Traps Up to Date

    The boom in the growth of the foodservice and catering industry coupled with changing diets and cooking techniques greatly contributed to increasing fatberg concerns. As more commercial kitchen waste was being disposed of directly into sinks and drains, without any form of protection against nasty build-ups, it became evident that something needed to be done. Between 1990 and 1991 legislation was drawn up and enforced stipulating strict guidelines in reference to the disposal of kitchen waste, especially in commercial premises. All commercial businesses that prepare and distribute food are now required to install and regularly maintain appropriate grease traps with correct, up-to-date documentation available to substantiate procedures. With water authorities clamping down on irresponsible practices, grease traps have never been more in the limelight.

    For more information about how grease traps can protect the future of your business, give us a call on 01455 894413 or start a conversation with us in the live chat.

  • Grease Trap Maintenance: Top Tips & Hints

    Grease Trap Cleaning






    Here are a few tips for effective and hygienic maintenance of your grease traps, ensuring the best results for your business and the environment.

    Caring for your Grease Trap

    • Clean food solids and FOG products regularly from the grease trap; frequency will depend on the size and capacity of the grease trap. Store fats, oils and grease in a suitable container until collection is arranged. 
    • Only use a licensed grease contractor to dispose of FOG. 
    • Regularly check grease traps to assess the integrity of the structure. Note any damages to internal and external walls, fixing or replacing as necessary. 
    • Always keep a complete record of cleaning, maintenance and disposal on site and ready for inspection. 
    • Make sure the lid fits firmly to prevent pests getting in and unpleasant odours getting out. 
    • Always follow manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and maintenance. 
    • Keep grease traps cleaner overall by using a liquid fat digester to break down grease and fats and reduce manual cleaning. 
    • Consider an automatic dosing pump to deliver regular quantities of fat digester.

    General Kitchen Procedures

    • Scrape any residue food from plates and utensils into the bin; wipe items to remove excess oil or fat before rinsing.
    • Always use strainers in sinks.
    • Clean sink strainers and standpipes regularly to keep sinks and grease pipes free of debris.
    • Collect used oil in a suitable container to be removed by a registered contractor.
    • Fully train staff in appropriate kitchen operations. Ensure full understanding of correct procedures and how to deal with FOG responsibly.

    DO NOT…

    • flush the sink with boiling water as it will partially break down FOG and allow it to pass through to drainage systems, causing problems further down the line.
    • … use a grease trap in conjunction with a high-temperature dishwasher.
    • connect any form of garbage disposal to a grease trap.
    • use any chemicals or bleach in the grease trap; this will kill natural bacteria and may harm the environment.
  • "What on earth are FOGs?"

    searching online about grease legislation

    With ever-increasing legislative pressure from the government and large fines being handed out by water companies, it’s vital that businesses within the commercial catering sector have effective forms of grease management measures in place to protect themselves.

    Whilst looking for potential solutions to the issue, you’re likely to have seen the term ‘FOGs’ thrown about left right and centre, but you may have been wondering to yourself: “What on earth are FOGs?”

    ‘FOG’ is an acronym:




    These are all essentially forms of grease which will always make it into the wastewater pipe of any commercial catering establishment as by-products of making and cooking food, especially on a large scale.

    Whilst any kitchen should already be making sure to pour excess FOGs into a separate container for safe disposal, rather than down the sink, you will never be able to stop all of it from entering the drain due to the processes of keeping dishes, pans and other kitchen utensils & equipment clean. It’s easy to forget how these FOGs will solidify when you’re disposing of them in their melted form, but sewers are much colder than the kitchen, resulting in a consistency much closer to solid lard - or when it mixes with other products which don't belong down the drain like wet wipes - concrete.

    Sewer worker holding a small 'Fatberg'

    This is why Grease Management is such a key area of concern.

    Hundreds of businesses have received crippling fines from the water board, due to the lack of measures in place to protect the waterways from excess FOGs – understandable when you learn that it costs the water industry upwards of £15million every year.

    These are easily-avoidable issues which could potentially put you out of business, yet you could be forgiven for being relatively unaware of them – remember the London ‘Fatberg’ of September 2017? That was by no means the first occurrence and until suitable grease management measures are implemented by everybody, it won’t be the last.
    Take a look at the severity of all the notable Fatberg cases in this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatberg

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