A CARTOON chimp is encouraging Christmas cooks around the region to have a fat-free festive period. Northumbrian Water has created Chips the Grease Monkey to drive home the message that turkey fat and other grease should be disposed of correctly.
Nearly one third of all sewer flooding is caused by fat and grease being put down the sink or drain.
An estimated 25% more fat ends up in drains and sewers over Christmas, further increasing the risk of flooding and also pollution to watercourses, endangering the environment and wildlife.
Chips explains: “Fat and grease is not only bad for the arteries, it is also bad for the sewer network, increasing the risk of blockages in the same way.
“As hot fat moves down a cold pipe it cools and sets on the pipe wall, eventually reducing the diameter of the pipe.
“Flushing hot soapy water will not stop sewer blockages as the surrounding ground keeps the pipe cool and sets the grease.
“Northumbrian Water spends vast amounts of money every year clearing sewer blockages which have been caused by deposits of cooking fat, oil and grease.
“The cost of cleaning grease at one of Northumbrian Water’s larger sewage treatment works is about £50,000 a year, and the company maintains hundreds of sewage treatment works, as well as almost 10,000 miles, that’s 16,000km, of sewers.”
Some detergents that claim to dissolve grease may pass it down a pipe, but it will settle out elsewhere in the sewer network and may still affect homes and the environment.
Copies of a Northumbrian Water leaflet, called “Stop and think – keep your sink on a fat free drink!” can be can be downloaded from Northumbrian Water's website at www.nwl.co.uk/Greasemonkey.aspx. More facts from Chips can be found at www.nwl.co.uk
Chips the Grease Monkey’s top tips are:
:: Scrape or wipe plates before washing-up to remove food and grease;
:: Use a strainer in kitchen sink plug holes to prevent food getting into the waste pipe;
:: Keep and re-use an old lidded container to collect grease, oil and fat once it has cooled down, or soak up fat in kitchen roll or newspaper and pop it in the bin;
:: Give garden birds a festive treat this winter and make sure they receive the energy they need to survive the bitterly cold winter. Mix seeds, nuts, oatmeal or dried fruit into a pot of warm fat. Once the mixture has cooled, the cakes can be hung from a tree or bird table.