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.
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.
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 went
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.
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.