We've all done it, at some stage. You think, 'it's just a little bacon grease; what's the harm?" Or a still-warm roasting tray, glistening with fat from a freshly roasted chicken, innocently makes its way into the soapy water-filled sink.

Pouring fat down the drain seems innocent when it's liquified, but all of those bits of grease harden as they cool down, and this can cause serious problems for our water systems.

Operated in a partnership between Clean Coasts (An Taisce) and Irish Water, the 'Think Before You Pour' campaign aims to educate consumers on the dangers of pouring fats, oils and greases (FOGs) down the drain.

Collaborating with well-known chefs Lilly Higgins and Kwanghi Chan, the campaign advises the public to allow FOGs to cool and then put in the bin to help prevent pipe blockages and protect the natural and built environment.

As Christmas approaches with the promise of many delicious roast dinners, spreading this message is especially important.

The 'Think Before You Pour' campaign is connected to the annual 'Think Before You Flush' campaign, which spreads awareness around items which should never be flushed down the toilet.


When foreign items flushed down the toilet (such as clumps of hair, baby wipes or dental floss) combine with FOGs which have been poured down the drain, they can create fatbergs (see image).

Fatbergs cause serious blockages in water systems throughout the country each year. Irish Water clears hundreds of blockages - including fatbergs - from the wastewater network every week.

Survey results

A 2022 survey, which was commissioned by Irish Water, revealed that consumers are more aware of why they shouldn't pour FOGs down their drains than in previous years, but we still have a way to go in terms of changing our behaviour.

In 2018, survey results showed 50% of consumers would regularly pour FOGs down the drain, which is down considerably this year to 34%. However, this still means that approximately three out of 10 people are still pouring FOGs down their kitchen sink.


Head of Irish Water's operations Tim Cuddy said that this Christmas, they want to encourage people to reduce the number of wastewater blockages backing up into houses and gardens or spilling into the local environment.

"We want to remind the public not to use their kitchen sink as a bin," he added. "Don’t pour those fats, oils and greases down the sink, but use a heat-proof container to collect them, and put them in the bin once they have cooled. This will help prevent pipe blockages and protect the natural and built environment.

“Every month, Irish Water clears approximately 2,000 blockages from the wastewater network. Let’s work together and keep our pipes free-flowing.”

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