Fats, Oils & Grease
FOG is fats, oils, and grease that can build up in sewer systems.
FOG can come from different sources, the most common are:
- Baked goods and baking products
- Butter or margarine
- Cooking oil
- Dairy products:
- Ice cream
- Sour cream
- Food scraps
- Meat and meat fats
- Sauces, salad dressings, mayonnaise
- Shortening or lard
The fats, oils, and grease (FOG) are found in food ingredients such as:
- Baked goods
- Cooking oil
- Dairy products
- Lard, butter or margarine
- Salad dressings
These are a major concern for sewer systems. When fats, oils, and grease are poured into the sink drain or flushed down the toilet, they coat and stick to the inside of the sewer pipes which can cause expensive, and even dangerous, stoppages and sewer backups. FOG can create blockages in both the public sanitary sewer system and your private sewer system. When not disposed of properly, FOG can lead to raw sewage overflowing into your home and streets, expensive repairs, and potential health risks as a result of contact with contaminants in sanitary sewage.
A pipe clogged with thick fats, oil and grease, also known as FOG.
- Can it. Cool it. Trash it.
- Do place cooled cooking fats, oils, and grease into a waxed food container such as a milk carton or container with a lid and dispose of it in the garbage.
- Do scrape grease and foods scraps into a container or trash for disposal from:
- Cooking surfaces
- Do wipe before washing. For greasy pans, pour the grease into a container and use a paper towel to wipe out the remaining grease in the pan prior to washing.
- Do use baskets or strainers in sinks to catch the leftover food scraps. Empty scraps into garbage.
- Do minimize the use of garbage disposals. Foods containing FOG can get caught in the plumbing and cause sewer backups.
- Do minimize the use of dish soap when washing dishes. Dish soap emulsifies FOG and enables it to pass into pipes. It will later coagulate in sewer lines.
- Do keep drains clean by pouring 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain followed by 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Wait 10-15 minutes and then rinse with hot water.
- Do speak with friends and family about the problem of FOG in the sewer system and how to keep it out.
- Don’t put fats, oils, or grease down garbage disposals.
- Don’t pour fats, oils or grease down sink drains or into toilets.
- Don’t use hot water to rinse grease off cookware, utensils, dishes, or surfaces. Instead wipe out with a paper towel.
Photo Courtesy of Goldstreet Design Agency, Inc.
- Strain or filter oil in deep fryers to extend the life of the cooking oil.
- Control the temperature of deep fryers to prevent oil from scorching and extend its life. Less oil in the grease interceptor means money saved in pumping and in new oil purchased.
- Recycle cooking oils and leftover grease into a storage container such as a barrel or bucket. Remember that grease is valuable — grease and oil can be recycled into other useful products. See your local directory for “grease traps” or “greases” to find grease collection companies or grease trap service providers.
- Instruct staff to be conservative about the use of FOG in food preparation.
- Don’t use your garbage disposal to grind up FOG and flush it down the drain.
- Use dry cleanup methods to reduce water consumption and save money! Remove FOG and food waste from pans by scraping or wiping before using water. Use rubber scrapers to remove FOG from cookware.
- Use absorbent paper to soak up FOG under fryer baskets.
- Use paper towels to wipe down work areas. Cloth towels will accumulate grease that will eventually end up in your drains when washing.
- Minimize the use of dish soap in dishwashing operations. Dish soap emulsifies FOG and enables it to pass through a grease interceptor. It will later coagulate in sewer lines.
- Maintain your grease trap. Many restaurants have a grease trap installed in the kitchen. In order to keep your grease trap working properly, you’ll need to have it cleaned periodically, according to the manufacturer’s specifications.