NEW GUIDE HELPS SOUTH WEST CATERERS SEE CLEARLY THROUGH THE FOG
Fats, oils and grease (FOG) being thrown down sinks and drains every year in the UK is causing up to 150,000 sewer blockages and posing a significant threat to the day-to-day operations of catering businesses, says sustainable business experts Envirowise who have launched a Good Practice Guide to help caterers tackle the problem.
The ‘Better Management of Fat, Oils and Grease in the Catering Sector Guide’ covers the costs and issues associated with FOG in catering, from ways in which businesses can reduce use, treatment methods in the kitchen, recovery and disposal, to the importance of staff training and legal requirements.
Real-life examples throughout the Guide illustrate the cost savings and other benefits catering outlets have already achieved by adopting best practice.
“The majority of food and catering outlets use fats and oils, spending significant amounts of money on their use and disposal,” says South West regional manager, Paul Gilbert.
“As food outlet numbers are increasing, problems associated with FOG in the sewer system are also on the rise. Any catering outlet disposing of FOG down sinks and drains can potentially cause damaging and costly drainage problems, which may affect their reputation or even restrict their operations.”
According to Envirowise, a medium-sized restaurant or takeaway business typically spends £3,000 – £4,000 every year on buying cooking oils. Once the cost of disposing of used oil is added, this can rise to £6,000 or more.
Paul adds: “The Guide explores practical tips, advice and action plans to help reduce use where possible, ensure correct disposal, cut back costs and combat any health and safety or reputational issues which could arise from poor FOG management. With the growing raft of legislation impacting on FOG disposal and use, such as food hygiene, landfill, environmental protection and water industry regulations, catering businesses cannot afford to delay in taking action.”
Envirowise top tips on FOG management for catering businesses:
Change the menu – Changes to menus and cooking techniques can help to reduce the quantities of oils and fats used. Even small changes can have a significant impact, such as pan frying instead of deep frying and grilling. Baking or steaming, instead of roasting.
Re-use fats & oils – With proper controls it is possible to re-use fats and oils safely, particularly where the cooking method requires a high throughput of the frying medium.
Use grease traps – Grease traps can be fitted to the kitchen drainage system to remove FOGs from wastewater and prevent their build-up in drains and sewers which can lead to blockages.
Release the power – Used cooking oil can be used either for conversion to bio-diesel or for incineration for energy recovery (i.e. electricity generation). A growing number of companies offer commercial collection services for these purposes.
Companies can contact the Envirowise Advice Line (0800 585794) or visit the Envirowise website (www.envirowise.gov.uk) to download the free ‘Better Management of Fat, Oils and Grease in the Catering Sector’ Guide (GG809)