What Are Fatbergs, and How Can Recycling Cooking Oil Prevent Them from Forming?

January 28, 2019

When you are done cooking a meal, what do you do with your cooking oil? This might come across as a relatively inconsequential question. But if you wash your old cooking oil down the drain, then you might unknowingly be contributing to a major problem.

“Fatbergs” probably sounds like a disgusting term—and that is because, quite frankly, it describes a disgusting phenomenon! They also affect virtually everyone living in a community, and they are caused by the seemingly inconsequential action of pouring your cooking oil down the drain.

Here is an overview of what fatbergs are, and how we can prevent them from forming by having our cooking oil recycled in New Orleans, LA.

What are fatbergs?

When you wash your cooking oil down the drain after cooking a meal, the cooking oil does not just wash down through the sewer system like water does. This is because oil is much thicker than water, and sewer systems are not designed to handle large quantities of oil.

So, when you wash that oil down the drain, it tends to collect. If the problem in a certain area becomes especially severe, a fatberg will form. A fatberg is a collection of fats and oils, as well as other things that shouldn’t be flushed, like feminine hygiene products, wet wipes and condoms.

Now you know why the word “fatberg” is so unappealing—it’s because it describes a truly unappealing thing!

Found in London

Fatbergs can occur anywhere in the world, and recently one city discovered that it had a serious fatberg problem. In 2018, the city of London announced that fatbergs were clogging up its sewer pipes. One fatberg was particularly voluminous.

“This fatberg is up there with the biggest we’ve ever seen. It’s a total monster and taking a lot of manpower and machinery to remove, as it’s set hard,” a public official said at the time. “It’s basically like trying to break up concrete. It’s frustrating as these situations are totally avoidable and caused by fat, oil and grease being washed down sinks and wipes flushed down the loo.”

How to avoid them

Now that you know what a nasty problem fatbergs can pose, you are probably wondering what you can do to avoid them. Well, the answer is simple: avoid flushing or washing down the drain any products that might contribute to a fatberg.

Those items include wipes, sanitary napkins and tampons and anything else you aren’t supposed to flush down your toilet. But it also includes cooking oil, which is one blind spot that many people have. If you have a bad habit of washing cooking oil down your drain, then you need to change this habit quickly to avoid contributing to the fatberg problem.

We can help

Not sure what to do with your old cooking oil if you can’t wash it down the drain? Well, for commercial kitchens and restaurants, the answer is simple: have your cooking oil recycled in New Orleans, LA! And if you have any questions about avoiding fatbergs, feel free to get in touch with Safeway Used Oil and Grease to learn more about recycled cooking oil in New Orleans, LA.

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