Poor fats, oils and grease (FOG) management can harm your business and the wider community. If your business does not dispose of grease properly, it will enter the sewers and cause blockages in the form of ‘fatbergs’. These fatbergs cost millions of pounds to clear, and can lead to sewer overflows, flooding and business and road closures. If you’re found to be responsible for a sewer backup and overflow, your business can face hefty fines.
The good news is, with good planning you can easily implement a grease management programme and protect your business. From fast food to fine dining, all establishments need to focus on their grease management, no matter the size or star. This article aims to cover all things FOG and outline how you can manage it effectively.
What is FOG?
Fats, oils, and grease – often referred to as FOG, are byproducts of food production. If there is any food preparation, cooking or cleaning carried out in the kitchen, you are producing FOG.
FOG comes from a range of sources, including dairy, meat, pizza, baked goods, salad dressings and coffee beans. If you roll a piece of paper over a bit of food, it will probably leave some fatty residue, and when you wash that into a sink, it creates a problem.
Used cooking oil
Also known as yellow grease, used cooking oil is captured from deep fat fryers and chip fryers. This used oil is no longer good for cooking with and must be stored safely and securely for collection by a licensed waste carrier.
Most restaurants have a system where their contractor picks up the used oil when they deliver fresh oil and the used oil is typically recycled into biodiesel. It is essential that when your used cooking oil is collected, you receive a copy of the waste transfer note. You must keep this documentation for two years and they must be available for inspection under Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Grease trap waste
Grease trap waste, or brown grease, is collected from grease traps. Grease traps collect FOG at the source and prevent it from entering your pipes and the sewers, where it can be an environmental pollutant and a public health issue.
Brown grease is more difficult to collect without the right type of grease trap. Unlike yellow grease, the physical product of brown grease (the amount and even smell!) varies from place to place.
As with your used cooking oil collections, when you get your grease trap cleaned and serviced by a contractor, you must receive a copy of the waste transfer note to keep as evidence of proper grease trap maintenance and correct waste disposal.
Some FOG best management practices
- Install an appropriately sized grease trap, connected to all FOG discharge points
- Implement a regular grease trap cleaning schedule, including both staff maintenance (if applicable) and contractor servicing
- Create and keep documentation for all staff cleaning and maintenance activities
- Make sure you receive and keep documentation for all contractor cleaning, maintenance and waste transfers, including canopy filter cleaning and grease trap waste and used cooking oil collections
- Store used cooking oil in leak-proof containers with lids and drip trays, away from drains and in a secure area to prevent unauthorised access
- Have a spill plan in place that all staff are trained on in the event of an oil or grease spill
- Ensure that all sinks have strainers to catch food scraps and clear signage to distinguish washing up areas from food prep areas
- Train kitchen staff on the importance of wiping off all food and sauce residues from kitchen equipment and utensils before washing
- Ensure your best management practices are clear and all staff are trained on them
Restaurant grease maintenance checklist
- Always use, store and dispose of grease according to state regulations
- Store Yellow Grease (UCO) in watertight containers
- Keep collection bins/barrels away from drains and protected from traffic and weather
- Keep collection bins in areas where it is easy to contain grease spills.
- Frequently clean hood filters in sinks that flow into grease traps attached to the sewer.
- Use low emulsion-type soaps for floor and hood cleaning.
- Connect trash compactors to the sanitary sewer or place them on pads with a drain connected to the sewer.
Under the Water Industry Act 1991, it is a criminal offence to discharge into the public sewers any matter which may impede the free flow of wastewater. British Building Regulations state that commercial food premises connected to the mains drainage system and serving hot food should be fitted with a grease trap. Installing and maintaining an effective grease trap is the only way to ensure that you are not contributing to sewer blockages and environmental pollution. Remember, if you do contribute to a major blockage in your area, you will be subject to fines and possible closure.
You must manage your kitchen grease effectively and be sure to check that your grease trap is functioning correctly. Food businesses that don’t have routine grease trap cleanings are at a much greater risk of pipe blockages than those that do. Without routine cleaning, you are risking foul odours, overflows and contamination of your food and water.
How SwiftQuote helps
We want to make it easy to employ FOG Best Management Practices and to get the best deal from trusted, local service providers.
With our SwiftQuote App, you can request free quotes from approved providers in your area. Submit a request for free quotes, compare bids and select your favourite all in a few clicks.
SwiftQuote also tracks your compliance services and ensures you never miss a deadline again.