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Naughty or Nice? Keep your pipes on the Nice list this Christmas by binning your Fats, Oils and Greases

Christmas 2023: Water UK is urging the public to dispose of cooking fats, oils and greases responsibly to avoid blocked pipes, property damage and harm to the environment.

  • New research shows that 27% of UK adults dispose of their fats down the sink, 22% down the drain and 11% down the loo.
  • The good news is that 80% of UK adults say they knew of at least one way to dispose of fats, oils and greases suitably.
  • On average, 68% of UK adults are aware of each of the harms and damages* disposing of fats, oils and greases down the sink, drain or loo can do. 

Because no one dreams of a greasy Christmas, a new national campaign from Water UK is encouraging people to avoid putting any leftover fats, oils or greases down the sink.

This new campaign comes as research shows that more than a quarter (27%) of UK adults admit to pouring cooking fats and oils down the sink. More than a fifth (22%) put it down the drain while more than 1 in 10 (11%) flush it down the loo!

The problem is that fats, oils and greases poured down the sink or drain harden in cold pipes. They combine with wet wipes and other unflushable items to create ‘fatbergs’ which block sewer pipes, leading to sewage flooding homes and streets, and pollution in our waterways. They can also block pipes in homes potentially leading to costly repair bills.

Sewer blockages cost the UK up to £200 million each year, and more than 3,000 homes are flooded because of them.

The good news is that, on average, 68% of UK adults are aware of each of the harms* of disposing of fats, oils and greases down the sink, drain or loo, and 80% say they know of at least one way to dispose of leftover fats and oils responsibly. Reasons for putting cooking fats down the sink, drain or toilet include: convenience (43%), having always done it (29%), and not knowing any other way (26%), while 15% believe it’s a responsible method of disposal.

Top tips on how to responsibly dispose of fats, oils and grease include:

  • Allow them to cool and wipe away with kitchen towel and place in the bin.
  • Cooled oils can be poured into a heatproof container, then placed in the bin.
  • Pour into a pot and use again to cook another meal.
  • Use a sink strainer to catch greasy food scraps.

Fats block pipes: To protect your home or businesses please dispose of fats, oils and grease from cooking responsibly.

William Davies, Communications Director, Water UK said:

“We all love our Christmas dinner but cooking up that delicious festive feast leaves behind a trail of leftover fat, oil and grease.

“Amid the yuletide cheer the last thing we want to think about is what should happen to this gloopy mess. But disposing of it down the sink or drain can cause real problems in our sewers, harm wildlife and block the pipes in our homes as well.

“This festive season why not do your bit to protect your ho, ho home by putting any fats, oils and greases in the bin and not down the sink.”

Robbie Moore MP, Minister for Water, said:  

“As millions gather for Christmas meals with family and friends, proper disposal of the fats, oils and greases we use to cook our roast dinners won’t be high on the festive agenda for many – but it is crucial to protect the environment. We know that when oils and fats are put down the sink, they can contribute to build-ups of fatbergs in our sewers, bringing the risk of blocked pipes and sewage spills.

“To protect our waterways this Christmas and beyond our Plan for Water is delivering more investment, stronger regulation and tougher enforcement in the water sector.”


Notes to editors:

For further information contact us on 020 7344 1805 or email

Fats Block Pipes campaign


  • Savanta surveyed 2,295 UK adults online between 9th and 10th of December 2023. Data was weighted to be nationally representative of all UK adults by age, gender region and social grade.
  • *In this survey we asked about the awareness of harms and damage that pouring cooking fats, oils or grease down the sink, toilet or drain can cause. The following options were included: harm to the environment, harm to land animals, harm to marine life (sea and river animals), blocked and burst pipes in your home, flooding in your home, and fatbergs which block sewers and can trigger sewage spills.