Celebrity chefs serve up tips to prevent FOGs clogging up your Christmas celebrations

13 December 2021

It’s time to make sure the chimney is clear for the safe arrival of Santa, but that’s not all we have to keep clear this Christmas! This festive season, the Think Before You Pour campaign is partnering with Ireland’s well-known chefs, Kevin Dundon, Lilly Higgins, JP McMahon, Guy Sinnott, Mark Murphy and Edward Hayden to ask you to Think Before You Pour and put fats, oils and greases (FOGs) from the Christmas dinner in the bin.

Think Before You Pour is operated by Clean Coasts in partnership with Irish Water and appeals to the public not to pour FOGs down the kitchen sink, as a survey reveals that approximately 4 out of 10 people admit to doing so.

Fats, oils and greases may seem like liquid when poured, but they cool and harden as they travel along the pipes and can cause blockages in our homes, businesses, the public sewer network and wastewater treatment plants and can even lead to overflows of sewage in our communities and pollution in rivers, on beaches and in the ocean. When FOGs combine with wipes and other sewage related litter such as hair and dental floss that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, fatbergs can form. Irish Water clears hundreds of blockages including fatbergs from the wastewater network every week.  

Irish celebrity chef, television personality and author Kevin Dundon said: “This Christmas, I am delighted to be working with Clean Coasts and Irish Water on a great campaign to remind you to Think Before You Pour fats down the sink. As you all know, I love using fat while cooking, such as butter to baste a steak, turkey fat from the roasting tray or some duck fat on crispy roast potatoes. But, once served, pouring the residue left on the baking trays and pans down the sink will only end up creating blockages and giant fatbergs.

Kevin continued: “My best advice is to let pans and trays cool for a few minutes and using kitchen paper, scrape the setting fat into a container and dispose of the fat in the general bin. It is a simple step that the family can do at home and help keep our pipes clearer. So this Christmas, use as much butter and cream in your recipes as desired and Think Before You Pour!

Speaking about the size and scale of the issue Tom Cuddy, Head of Operations, Irish Water said: “This Christmas let’s reduce the number of wastewater blockages backing up into our houses and gardens or spilling into the local environment. We want to remind the public not to use their kitchen sink as a bin. ‘Think before You Pour’ and use a heat proof container to collect FOGs and put them in the bin once they have cooled. This will help prevent pipe blockages and protect the natural and built environment. Every month Irish Water clears approximately 2,000 blockages from the wastewater network. Survey results this year show that approximately 4 out of 10 people admit to pouring FOGs down the kitchen sink which contributes to these blockages. Let’s work together and keep our pipes free-flowing.

Speaking about the campaign, Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager, Clean Coasts said: “This Christmas Clean Coasts are asking the public to take positive environmental actions to be green this Christmas. One simple green action that can be done in the home is to keep our wastewater pipes clear by never pouring fats, oils and greases from the Christmas dinner down the kitchen sink. Instead, collect them into a heatproof container, allow to cool and empty into the bin. This helps prevent blockages in our wastewater systems. I would encourage and remind everyone to Think Before You Pour this Christmas.”