Cooking at this time of year with large family get-togethers and other holiday festivities, there is an opportunity for an increase in fats, oils and grease (FOG) found in food ingredients such as meat, cooking oil, shortening, butter, margarine, baked goods, sauces and dairy products being disposed of. They can cause the sewer lines in homes and streets to back up if not disposed of properly.
FOG that is poured down the sink drain will cling to the insides of pipes and the sewer system, and over time can build up and block pipes completely. If wastewater can’t move freely through pipes and out into the sewer system, it can back up into the home and can cause unsanitary conditions and damages that are expensive to repair. Tax dollars go to clean out blocked pipes and city of McKinney spends around $300,000 a year to clean out blocked pipes.
Let fats, oils and grease cool to room temperature in pots and pans, and then pour it in a container and throw the container away in the trash. Before washing pots and pans, wipe the fats, oil and grease with a paper or cloth towel and toss it into the trash. If deep-frying a turkey or other items, check with the city and ask about free household hazardous waste collection for large quantities of FOG. Curbside collection may even be available.
Martha Cavazos Fipps is the environmental education & community outreach coordinator for the city of McKinney Environmental Services Department. For more information about FOG disposal, visit McKinneyTexas.org.