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Monthly Archives: December 2019

  • A Quick Guide to Grease Trap Grease Disposal

     

    So, you’ve decided to join a community of thousands of food business owners and take on the fatberg problem. You’ve invested in a quality grease trap, weighed up the benefits of buying automatic grease traps versus manual, and had your grease management solution installed. After taking some time to congratulate yourself, you’ve let your GRU do what it does best. Now, as the day you scheduled for your first grease trap clear-out looms, you’re wondering: What next? What do I do after I’ve cracked open the lid, and scooped out the FOGs? Where does it all go then?

    Don’t fret: here’s a guide to getting rid of the grease your trusty grease trap collects.

    Orange circle label with oil drum and droplet

    First:

    Storage

    Once you’ve removed that layer of fats, oils and grease, you’ll need to put those FOGs in some air-tight, leak-proof containers to prevent odours escaping and attracting vermin to your food prep area.

    When full, put those containers somewhere safe where they won’t be knocked over or disturbed – to avoid spillages.

    Keep them away from any drains and definitely don’t put them up high where, if they do leak, they could leak onto something ready-to-eat, or where they could be knocked over too easily. Ideally, put them in an out-of-the-way cupboard at ground level.

    Then, you’ll need to collect up enough waste FOGs to make collection worthwhile.

    To bring collection day closer and to make it more frequent, you may even wish to branch out to other food businesses in your local area, pool your FOG waste together and have it all picked up in one go.

    When you’ve collected enough,

    Dispose of your FOGs professionally 

    Obviously, don’t undo your good work by simply pouring those FOGs right back down the drain: don’t just send your FOG waste into the same grease trap you just got it from and definitely don’t lose hope and flush all your progress down the toilet.

    It’s also a no-go to put it in with your other kitchen waste and you can’t take it to a household waste recycling centre for disposal.

    That’s a lot of no’s… but the law means that, as a food business owner, you’ve got to dispose of your FOGs properly. So:

    Look for an authorised waste carrier who can transport your FOG waste to a licensed waste management site for recovery or safe disposal.

     

    Oil truck

     

    You’ll likely be looking for one of the growing number of companies which are currently offering services which collect your FOGs direct from your door and either take them off to become biofuel or to be composted in a licensed facility.

    Turning FOGs into biofuels is an increasingly popular method of cutting down on FOG waste. Not only is it the go-to for water companies, such as Thames Water, who are turning fatbergs into biofuels in partnership with Argent Energy, it is also a method with government backing as it reduces the use of fossil fuels and thus carbon dioxide emissions.

    There are many businesses which turn FOG waste into biofuels across the UK.

    In the London and the Greater London area alone, there’s Proper Oils for a free collection, Grays Waste Services, or Footprint Fuels. And Londoners have further services within easy reach: in Kent, there’s Hempstead Byproducts and Emil Oil (another free service), in Essex there’s Palmer & Klein, and in Leicester, there’s J&M Oil.

    It’s easy to find a Waste Oil collection business near you: just check online or with your local authority.

    Composting waste oil is a little less common. While the process is pretty simple for your normal food waste – a case of collecting it all together and allowing micro-organisms to break it down -- composting oil can be a little more complex.

    That’s because the micro-organisms which thrive in decomposing oil can be far more harmful than anything which could ever grow on the scraps and cuttings leftover from cooking and eating. This means the companies which specialise in composting waste oil must use sealed units which can guarantee that the waste is kept at a temperature which kills off all the nasties.

    Still, you may be able to find a service in your local area which offers to collect your waste fats, oils and grease and get it composted down.

    Remember that, whichever business and FOG waste collection service you go for, you’ll need to check its credentials with your local regulator: look online or call the SEPA, the Environment Agency, or the Environment and Heritage Service, to ensure that you’re handing your waste products over to a fully licensed operator.

    Then, when you finally get those FOGs off your hands:

    Keep a record of where your waste wentPile of files with papers

    That means you have something to prove that you’re dealing with your FOGs properly if the water companies come knocking.

    You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you’ve got a decent trap installed but you can’t prove that you’ve been using it properly – where you’re facing a fine because you didn’t keep the paperwork.

    It’s Simple!

    FOG waste disposal doesn’t need to be a headache and certainly shouldn’t stop you from investing in a quality automatic grease trap or stainless steel grease trap today. Those fatbergs won’t stop forming all by themselves.

  • How Do I Know If I Should Get a Manual or Automatic Grease Trap?

     

    The FOG problem still looms large. Fats, oils and grease (FOGs) are still making their way down our drains and into our sewers where they clump together and form fatbergs over time.

    Water companies are still footing the bill for removing most of those bergs, as they focus on spreading awareness about the FOG problem – giving food businesses the benefit of the doubt while gently encouraging better practice.

    But it won’t be long before their focus shifts. We’ve seen food businesses fined thousands of pounds for poor grease management practices, and we could see many more financial penalties handed out to unwary businesses in the coming years.

    Ignoring the fatberg problem is bad for business – and getting a good quality grease trap installed is an investment worth making.

    Would You Pay £2600 to Save £8k?

    But, with so many to choose from, where do you start?

    Let’s begin with the basics.

    There are two types of GRU to consider.

    The Manual Grease Trap

    Image 1:Stainless steel manual grease trap exterior. Image 2: Stainless steel manual grease trap interior with solids filter. Image 1:Stainless steel manual grease trap exterior. Image 2: Stainless steel manual grease trap interior with solids filter.

    Also known as Passive traps, Manual stainless steel grease traps have no moving parts and don’t need electricity to run.

    Tucked into a corner of your kitchen beneath sinks or concealed beneath a drain cover as an underground grease trap, manual traps live in a gap in your drainage pipe, between your sinks and appliances and the sewer outside, intercepting the flow of wastewater out of your kitchen.

    They slow the flow, allow the wastewater to cool and separate into three layers: FOG, solids and clear water.

    While clear water escapes through the filter into the outlet, the solids sink to the bottom of the trap while the FOG forms a layer up top.

    As the FOG and solids collect, you’ll need to clean your manual trap out – ideally before it reaches 25% capacity and certainly before the FOG and solid waste begins to decompose and give off that infamous smell.

    Many food businesses opt to employ professionals to pump their traps on a regular basis, though some do the cleaning themselves: scooping out the FOGs and solid sediment before pumping out the water and washing the trap with a healthy dose of disinfectant.

    If this DIY cleaning operation seems like a tall order but you don’t want to pay for professionals to do it for you, investing in an automatic grease trap.

    The Automatic Grease Trap

    Image 1: GreaseMaster GM50 Automatic Grease Recovery Unit exterior. Image 2: How the GM50 works. Image 1: GreaseMaster GM50 Automatic Grease Recovery Unit exterior. Image 2: How the GM50 works.

    Automatic grease traps or automatic grease interceptors (AGI's) may be the answer. 

    Like manual traps, automatic traps sit in the midst of your drainage pipe, intercepting the flow of wastewater from your appliances and sinks into the sewers outside. Like manual traps, they slow the flow of wastewater and allow it to cool and separate out into layers.

    But, automatic traps go one step further to make the clean-up process easier. An external strainer catches most of the solid waste into a collection bin while the automatic system works on a programmed schedule to re-heat the FOG waste in the trap so that it can be skimmed out into another collector bin, for easy removal and recycling.

    These benefits do come with some cost, however: not only are automatic traps more expensive, but they also require electricity (which costs a little extra money) and you’ll need to give them at least 10 minutes of TLC every day, emptying and washing out those waste collection bins.

    If this doesn’t sound like too much to ask your staff to do, an automatic trap may be for you – but, before you dig deep into those pockets, you’ll need to figure out the following:

    What Size Do You Need?Blackboard with geometry

    When it comes to grease traps, size matters – particularly for the efficiency of the GRU.

    Larger traps are more pricey but go too cheap and small and your trap will fill up too fast – and, once they are over a quarter full they become very inefficient very quickly. A full trap is the same as no trap at all.

    To help you choose, figure out your wastewater flow rate in gallons per minute (gpm) – this can be done based on the diameter of your waste pipe - and, if you need to, feel free to ask your supplier for advice. Read more about What Size Grease Trap Do I Need?

    Then, think…

    How Much Are You Willing To Spend?

    Cleaning out a manual trap on your own can be the most cost-effective method of combatting the FOG problem. But, without even mentioning the potential health-risks, the job itself is one which most people dread and put off.

    If this is likely to happen, it’s also likely that your trap will spend a lot of its time being full and ineffective, while doing nothing to prevent a fine coming your way.

    So, before you go too cheap, think about the alternatives: if you want to make the DIY clean-up operation easier, paying a little more to begin with by investing in an automatic trap may be for you; if, on the other hand, the idea of handling the gunk that comes out of your drains is unappealing, you may want to look into professional pumping.

    Then there’s the question of Quality. Always choose a durable stainless steel trap over one with breakable plastic parts, and always check out multiple reliable reviews before you decide which particular trap to trust.

    This Christmas, be sure to treat yourself to the GRU which is right for you.

  • Fatbergs – A Global Pandemic

    Fatbergs are not new in our society and have been around for decades. They are increasingly finding their way into our drainage system thanks to our daily activities. This combination of fat, grease and other materials such as wet wipes is fast becoming a menace to society.

    Fatbergs keep making headlines in the UK for all the wrong reasons. For example, reports of a fatberg larger than a Jumbo jet circulated when a 209 foot-long fatberg was discovered in Sidmouth, England. It was a combination of fat, oil and wet wipes which took a lot of manpower and resources to take apart and ensure that the obstruction it was causing was cleared.

    Despite such harrowing stories of fatbergs in the UK, it is not just our little isle that seems able to produce fatbergs on every scale – from small inconveniences to gigantic sewer stopping monsters, Fatbergs are happening on a global scale and, just as in the UK, typically in built-up, densely populated areas that harbour the perfect quantity of ingredients to create fatbergs.

    Read more about some of the biggest fatbergs on record.

    Given the menace they pose on drainage systems around the world, it is important to look at other areas where fatbergs have been observed and their contents.

    Manhattan, New York skyline

    United States

    The United States has encountered its fair share of fatbergs which has caused water companies millions of dollars clearing then out and ensuring that their drainage systems are clean.

    Water companies have devised campaigns such as “Trash It, Don’t Flash It”, which urge the residents to only flush down poo, pee, puke and tissue paper while trashing grease, wet wipes and their sanitary products responsibly.

    Some of the most notable fatbergs sightings in the US include:

    Metro Detroit

    This particular fatberg was 100 feet long, 11 feet wide and 6 feet tall. It was a combination of congealed fats, oils, grease and baby wipes flushed down the drainages over a long period of time.

    Baltimore

    This particular fatberg was discovered in in Penn Station back in 2017. The 24-inch wide pipe was caked in fats, oils and grease. It fatberg weighed 140 ton and had clogged up to 85% of the pipe causing the discharge of about 1.2 million gallons of sewage to find its way into the Jones Fall Stream.

    Sydney Opera House skyline

    Australia

    Australia has also experienced sewer blockages caused by massive fatbergs. In Australia, wet wipes cause 80% of all blockages. This adds up to more than 650 tons of wet wipes being flushed down the toilet and into the sewage systems. The wet wipes combine with congealed fats and greases to form offensive fatbergs that cost water companies millions.

    Other unwanted materials found in Australian drainages include condoms, female products such as tampons and sanitary pads, and cigarettes.

    Australian authorities have come up with ways to sensitize their masses against throwing trash down their drains through campaigns.

    New Castle, New South Wales

    This fatberg was discovered in the Eleebana sewage pumping station. It weighed more than 1000kg and took more than 4 hours to remove by crane. This fatberg contained a combination of wet wipes, fat and oil.

     Melbourne

    A fatberg was discovered in Melbourne having blocked its sewage system. This particular fatberg was a combination of fat, wet wipes, food, tennis balls, pieces of wood and planks as well as other debris. Workers had to work for four days to clear the obstruction and ensure proper flow of wastewater.

    The Melbourne Museum received part of the fatberg from Yarra Valley Water Company to help raise awareness on the fatberg problem.

    Singapore

    A fatberg was discovered to have caused a blockage in Sam Leong Road in Little India. The obstruction has been caused by congealed fats, grease and solid items such as paper towels, cigarette packs and condoms.

    While there have been cases of fatbergs in Singapore, the country is less likely to experience big fatbergs as you would find in the UK due to their separate wastewater collection system. Additionally, water companies clean the drainages regularly to ensure that there are no blockages.

    This, however, doesn’t mean that blockages from items that would cause a fatberg do not happen. The national water management system PUG attends to more than 30 obstructions every month.

    Earth seen from space

    Fatbergs on a Global Scale

    The sheer quantity of fatbergs that have been reported on every scale, show that these manmade monsters really are a global issue, and just to think that installing and maintaining a simple grease trap could minimise the problem.

    You may be forgiven for thinking that all fatbergs are the same with the same ingredients and core DNA, however, think again.

    Fatbergs have different materials depending on the location. Even the grease found in fatbergs from different cities is different. Wet wipes, on the other hand, are consistent with all cities that have experience fatbergs.

    Most people find wet wipes convenient and easy to use and discard. The fact that they are labelled flushable on their packages makes it even more common to find wet wipes amidst these offensive masses. The only remedy to preventing the formation of fatbergs is to ensure proper disposal of waste material.

    With the population rapidly growing and everyone’s love of fast food and convenience at a peak, it’s critical that the people of the world, from every country tackle the issue now, before these fat, gelatinous blobs cause any further damage to the environment.

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