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Foodservice experts gather to discuss fatberg

Catering industry experts from across the UK are gathering in London next week to discuss the growing menace of fatbergs in the UK’s sewerage system, and agree a plan to tackle them.

It’s the first time that representatives from foodservice outlets, water companies, sustainability organisations and biofuel companies have joined forces to explore how every part of the supply chain can stop fats oils and grease (FOG) entering drains and clogging sewers.

The conference, entitled ‘From Fog To Fuel’ will be held on 13 March 2019, at Montague on the Gardens in London. The gathering is being organised by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) and Kingspan Water and Energy. There are now an estimated 366,000 sewer blockages every year across the country, with 70% of them caused by FOG.

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According to the SRA, sewer blockages cause huge disruption and are a public health nuisance, and are also said to be bad for individual food outlets as local blockages cause bad smells, blocked WCs, and will land the owner with a large bill for the cost of the clean-up.

David Anderson, business unit director for Kingspan Water and Energy, said: “We’re delighted by the huge level of cross-industry support we’ve received for the first-ever UK FOG to Fuel Conference. The UK’s sewer network is clogging up.

“This extraordinary underground network of Victorian tunnels, on which we all depend to remove our waste, is grinding to a halt and we need far stronger preventative measures to stop this happening. We’re hearing a lot about wet wipes and what shouldn’t be flushed down the WC, but FOG is a key major causal issue of blocked sewers and despite legislation, it is still entering the drains in high quantities. We need to explore better use of technology to prevent this happening.”

He added: “But we’re also very keen to see a change in attitude towards FOG from a waste product, to fuel. FOG has huge potential value as the bio-component for high grade, sustainable diesel for fleet operators. This offers an attractive payback for food outlets in partnership with strategic biofuel manufacturers, making a shift in attitudes a real win for the food service industry and for the environment.”

Andrew Stephen, CEO of the SRA, said: “Tackling FOG should be a part of the waste strategy of every responsible foodservice business. We hope this unique event will be the launch pad for the clearest, most practical roadmap for the industry to follow, creating a clear sewer network and a lucrative income stream.”

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