5 ways a grease trap can help your food business and prevent fatbergs

Grease trap grille

Remember the Whitechapel fatberg? Not one of the food outlets in the nearby street had a working grease trap to catch fats, oils and grease from entering the sewage system, according to a survey by Thames Water.

Here’s how a grease trap can help your business.

What is a grease trap?

A grease – or fat – trap is a container installed on your sink that’s especially designed to catch the fat from cooking pans and dirty plates in your kitchen.

It works by doing exactly what it says on the tin – it traps your fats, and even separates the fatty oils and grease from water.

Not having a grease trap has been identified as a key contributor to fatbergs and blocked pipes.

Proper Oils are licensed waste cooking oil collectors, and while we don’t provide a grease trap service, we understand that the oil collection and a grease trap work in synergy. It’s not enough to simply have your oil collected – to prevent fatbergs, you need to be trapping it at your sink too.

What happens if you don’t have a grease trap?

With no grease trap, the fats continue merrily on through your pipes. If they don’t cool and solidify within your pipes – blocking your business’ drainage system and causing foul smells – they will do so in the sewer network.

Here the globules of fat meet up with non-flushable items that have been wrongly flushed into the sewer network – like nappies, condoms and wipes. As the fats solidify, they create a very solid blockage called a fatberg, which can lead to floods of raw sewage in and around your business.

Monster fatberg in Whitechapel

“We’re not suggesting anyone intentionally pours the contents of a fat fryer down the drain,” says Thames Sewer network manager Stephen Pattenden.

“But it’s more about the gunk that comes from dirty plates, pots and pans. A simple, well-maintained grease trap will capture that stuff and stop it entering the sewer and turning into a monster fatberg – like the ones found in Whitechapel and Chinatown recently. Sadly, most of the businesses we speak to don’t even know about them.”

In the Thames Water survey of more than 700 food outlets across the capital, 92% were failing to prevent fat, oil, grease and food scraps from entering the sewer network.


Still not convinced? Here are 5 ways a grease trap will help you:

  1. It’ll stop those blockages in your pipes

If you’re regularly getting blocked pipes, a lack of a grease trap is likely the cause. Catching the fats upstream will mean a clear flow through your pipes.

  1. You’ll eliminate those foul odours

A pipe that’s blocked with fats and food debris has a vile stench. A grease trap will help your drains smell better.

  1. It saves you money

Yes, a grease trap costs money to install. You’ll also need to make sure the grease trap is maintained by your staff or an outside grease trap company. But clearing blocked pipes and closing your business due to a flood of sewage will cost your business far more in cancelled trade.

  1. You’ll avoid prosecution

It’s a legal requirement to dispose of your waste cooking oil responsibly to avoid it entering the sewage network. As well as booking collections through a licensed cooking oil collector, like Proper Oils, it’s also important to install a grease trap to comply with this law.

The Water Industry Act 1991 states that it’s a criminal offence to release anything into the public sewers that could interfere with the free flow of waste water.

Failure to comply with this law risks you a heavy fine – or even imprisonment.

  1. It’ll actually help keep you in business

Add up the above and unfortunately you put your business at risk by not having a well-maintained grease trap in your food outlet. From sewage floods and foul smells to being forced to close and the resulting negative reputation, it makes sense to install a grease trap and also maintain it well – including having a written record of its maintenance. The picture below from Thames Water shows a poorly-maintained grease trap.

To book a used cooking oil collection, or find out more about Proper Oils’ services, please call us on
020 8894 9476
, email info@properoils.co.uk or simply fill in our form

Read more:

Customer case study: Pennyhill Park in Surrey
Tighter carbon targets for the biodiesel industry
The monster fatberg reminding us to recycle waste cooking oil
Why should you recycle your professional kitchen’s used cooking oil?

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