Think Before You Pour

Fats, Oils and Greases (FOGS) can cause problems in our wastewater systems and our marine environment if they are poured down the sink. The ‘Think before You Pour’ campaign operated by An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme in partnership with Irish Water is aiming to raise public awareness of this problem across Ireland. This campaign is asking you to ‘Think Before You Pour’ Fats, Oils and Greases down the sink.

What are FOGs?

FOGs stands for Fats, Oils and Grease. FOGs originate from food products such as butter, lard, vegetable oils, animal fats, meats, sauces and dairy products. FOGs are typically generated during the preparation of food containing these products and from associated cleaning/washing up processes.

Why are they important?

When fats, oils and grease are hot and are in liquid form, they pour easily down a drain or sink and appear harmless. However, when FOGs cools, it solidifies and builds up inside the pipes causing serious blockages. Blockages caused by FOGs can result in raw sewage overflowing from sewers into homes, business premises, public areas, streams or rivers causing an environmental and public health hazard. The removal of FOGs is a difficult and expensive process.

Facts on FOGS (Fats, Oils and Greases)

1. Even though soap breaks up grease, it loses its effectiveness downstream, allowing grease to solidify on the pipe walls.

2. Running hot tap water will NOT help grease float through the sewer pipe because the water will eventually cool as it flows through the pipe and the grease will become solid again.

3. One European project found that it was possible to collect 2.5 litres of FOG per household per month (

4. It is estimated that 25% of municipal sewage treatment costs can be attributed to the FOG component (Curran, 2015).


Can the Grease! Keep an empty metal can and pour oil and grease into the can. Allow grease to cool in the container before throwing it in the bin.

Wipe before washing! For greasy pans, pour off the grease into a container and use a paper towel to wipe out the remaining grease in the pan prior to washing.

Control the temperature of deep fat fryers to prevent the oil from scorching and extending its life.

Do use a strainer in the sink and when full empty into the bin.