News

Fatberg attacks!

07
Aug
2013

The recent 15 tonne fatberg found beneath the streets of London has captured the attention of the national media. Cries of ‘disgusting’ and ‘foul’ resonated across twitter as news broke that a mass of oil, fat and faeces was reported festering under the Royal Borough of Kingston.

No one can deny that the huge ball of accumulated waste is disgusting and the idea that pipework came so close to exploding, sending a torrent of effluent sweeping down Kingston’s high street was probably the gross-out story of the year, but one has to wonder if this near-disaster has enabled residents to get a little introspective.

A media storm is great for highlighting an issue, but will residents focus on the gross-out factor of the fatberg story or ponder the grass roots cause?
The mass has accumulated from non-perishables being flushed down the toilet, or poured down the drain over a sustained period. So, be honest with yourself. What do you tip into your drains? It’s probably an accurate guess to hypothesise that more than just water and soap suds end up down there. The coffee grounds that you tip down the sink after your morning coffee; they are slow to break down and can get caught up in the tide of fat. Sanitary towels; the non biodegradable plastic liners help form part of the build-ups in sewers, or end up in the sea, left to find their way to the Pacific garbage patch. The same goes for a plethora of things that people wouldn’t necessarily expect to find in their pipes, including condoms, razor blades and baby wipes.

Of all the things that helped the Kingston fatberg to reach the size it was though, the biggest contributor was used cooking oil, from those residents and businesses that tip their leftover oil into the sink. Even just a little warm cooking oil from a frying pan, when solidified, it will stick to sewer walls and in turn, everything else will stick to that viscous liquid. Before you know it, you’ll have another 15 tonne terra firma hanging around in the sewers.

However, if you remove the binding agent (oil), then the creation of fatbergs is an oil-most (sorry) impossible task. By putting an old drink bottle next to your sink and adding cooking oil dregs each time you cook, you will be helping to prevent the formation of fatbergs. When your container is full, or when you next visit your local household waste recycling centre, take the bottle down with you and give it to site staff, who will pour it into Living Fuels’ cooking oil collection tanks. Similarly, businesses, we can collect your oil – of which for you is illegal to tip down drains – and give you fresh oil on collection.

All of the waste oil that we collect is naturally settled into our patented bioliquid, LF100, which is then used either in our renewable electricity facilities to create green energy for the National Grid (and the port of Dover), or as a sustainable alternative to petrochemicals found in paints, foam and lubricants. LF100 is a completely natural ‘end of waste’ product recovered using no additional chemicals or heat, so you can rest assured that recycling your oil with us will be the most sustainable place for it to end up.

Which is much better than in your front room, once the pipes have burst.

If you’re not sure of where your local collection point is, our handy postcode finder will do the work for you. Just visit livingfuels.co.uk/search.