Responsibly disposing of fats and oils

The disposal fats, oils, and grease in a liquid form or waste oil being poured down sinks and drains will give rise to blockages in sewers and drains.

Fats, oils and grease that are disposed of incorrectly are a well-known cause of major issues with the sewerage system, and the ensuing blockages are very costly to rectify. The blockages may result in flooding, vermin infestation, watercourse pollution and odour problems. Not only this, premises will risk blocking their own drainage, which may result in additional costs to the owner / occupier, and for businesses impact their profit margins.

General advice for disposal:

  • Scrape or wipe plates, pans and utensils prior to washing
  • Keep oil and grease out of washing up water
  • Do not pour cooking oil, fat or grease down the sink
  • Use strainers in sink plug holes and put any collected food debris in the rubbish bin
  • Do not sweep solids into floor drains - put rubbish and food waste in rubbish bins
  • Consider fitting a grease trap and make sure that is regularly maintained
  • Do not dispose of oils, fat and grease at Civic Amenity sites
  • Arrange for oil to be collected by an approved and licensed waste contractor

The Food Standards Agency have published advice on food and cooking oil waste, that covers the rules on the disposal of food waste, including leftovers and cooking oil from food business facilities.

Water UK have published the following document to advise food establishments on the need to keep fat, oil, and grease out of drains and sewers to (PDF) [515KB].

Waste oil collection

Waste oil can be recycled into bio diesel, animal feeds, detergents, cosmetics, plastics and moulds. The oil should be stored in leak proof containers, which should be kept covered.


Section 111 of the Water Industry Act 1991 makes it illegal to permit any substance, which may interfere with the free flow of the sewerage system, to pass down any drain or sewer connecting to a public sewer. This will include fats, oils and grease. This provision is enforced by Thames Water, who also provide best practice guidance for food businesses, and their legal requirements.

Our environmental health officers visit food businesses and under the Food Hygiene Regulations can insist that proper arrangements are made for the disposal of waste, including that proper arrangements are in places for the disposal of fats and oils.

If you have any questions about this content, email or call 01895 250 190.

Page last updated: 01 Feb 2021