Restaurants must act now to cash in on the potential rewards presented by fats, oil and grease (FOG), rather than face the risk of an expensive prosecution and clean-up operation for blocking the sewers, it was claimed today at the launch of a specialist toolkit for operators.
Officials from The Sustainable Restaurant Association and Kingspan Water & Energy have joined forces to release the ‘Grease is the Word’ toolkit to help deal with any issue that many remain in the dark about.
Seven out of ten of the UK’s 366,000 annual sewer blockages are caused by FOG, with an estimated 70% of commercial kitchens having no equipment in place to tackle the problem.
Following a meeting of representatives from foodservice outlets, water companies, sustainability organisations and biofuel companies in March, the SRA and Kingspan worked together on creating an online resource to provide operators with everything they need to know about effective FOG management, including legal obligations and key ‘dos and donts’ when it comes to dealing with the issue.
‘Grease is the Word’ spells out three steps every foodservice should take: identifying potential FOG hotspots and ensuring correct equipment fitted; reducing the use of fats; and carefully managing FOG.
Andrew Stephen, chief executive of the SRA, said: “Foodservice faces a simple choice when it comes to FOG. Businesses can either act responsibly and reap the rewards from recycling this energy-rich product, or they can choose to break the law, risk contributing to more fatbergs and face costly enforcement action by the water companies that have to clean up.
“Our aim with Grease is the Word is to make that decision a no-brainer for all operators, which will mean cash for them, clear sewers for all and a boost to the burgeoning biofuel market.”
A recent report by ACO Building Drainage found that fewer than a third of the UK’s commercial kitchens have equipment to tackle FOG, and only half of these kitchens have effective systems in place.
Earlier this year a Nottingham restaurant was successfully prosecuted by Severn Trent Water for causing a fatberg in the city and ordered to pay £8,400.
David Anderson, service business unit director at Kingspan, said: “There is still too little awareness around the need for individual responsibility and action to ensure FOG is managed at source. Collective action across the industry is now urgently needed. Everyone needs to come together to make changes if we are to succeed in combating this growing menace.
“FOG has huge potential as an energy-rich source of fuel and can be used as the bio-component for high grade, sustainable diesel for fleet operators. What’s more, it offers an attractive payback for food outlets, in partnership with strategic bio-fuel manufacturers.”
Grease is the Word is free for any foodservice operator to download here.