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Bin your turkey fat to keep your pipes clear this Christmas

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Around one million turkeys will be eaten across the region this Christmas, with waste products form these contributing significantly to blockages in customer homes.

Anglian Water is urging Christmas cooks not to let turkey fat escape down the plughole this festive season.

Despite the challenges that 2021 has brought, Anglian’s staff, classified as key workers, have continued to clear thousands of blockages from the region’s pipes.

Bin your turkey fat this Christmas plea from water company. (53866122)
Bin your turkey fat this Christmas plea from water company. (53866122)

There are more than 40,000 blockages a year in East Anglia alone – costing the company a whopping £19 million a year – and this year the waste amounted to 30 blue whales’ worth.

The wrongful disposal of fats, oils and greases can lead to devastating flooding and environmental pollution. Staggeringly, 80 per cent of all these blockages are completely avoidable through simple behaviour changes. Anglian Water is encouraging everyone to ‘Keep It Clear’ this Christmas by disposing of their waste responsibly.

The festive period sees an increase in the disposal of food waste, and this is often at the detriment of the region’s sewers. Fat often slides easily down the sink as a warm liquid.

However, the fat quickly cools and hardens, coating sewer walls and pipes, restricting the flow of water and increasing the likelihood of blockages or flooding. Fat also binds with other items that have also been wrongfully disposed of, such as wipes, cotton buds and sanitary items, known as “unflushables” – all of which should be binned instead.

Simon Love, head of water recycling networks, said: “This Christmas, it’s estimated more than one million turkeys will be eaten in the Anglian region. Each turkey produces three-quarters of a pint of fat, meaning some 250 tonnes of fat – equivalent to one million blocks of butter – could be washed down the drains and can cause a major headache.

“We have to clear a blockage once every 15 minutes due to the amount of fats, oils and greases that find their way into our region’s sewers. Blockages lead to sewage spills, and if this happens on your property the repair bill will be one Christmas present you definitely don’t want.

“Our advice to anyone cooking Christmas dinner is to let fat cool and then scrape it into your bin, or use some newspaper to scoop it up and put in your food caddy or composter. You’ll be saving yourself a lot of inconvenience as well as protecting your homes and the local environment from nasty sewage spills.”

Anglian Water’s Festive Fat Facts

One million turkeys will be eaten in the Anglian region this Christmas.

Each turkey produces three-quarters of a pint of fat, equating to 250 tonnes worth – the equivalent of one million blocks of butter.

Unfortunately, some wipes labelled flushable or biodegradable don’t break down due to their plastic contents, meaning Anglian Water has to take them out during the treatment process.

Anglian Water spends around £19 million a year to clear blockages, with regular jetting needed to keep sewers blockage-free.

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