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Posted November 27, 2017 | 4:36 PM

5 Ways To Fight Holiday FOG Clogs

Learn how to dispose of fats, oils and grease over the holidays

Mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, roasts, bacon, green bean casserole, buttered rolls, fresh corn, and cranberry sauce are some of the holiday staples. While it's a favorite celebration for most, there's one thing overlooked in the hustle and bustle: fighting holiday FOG.

Fats, oils, and grease - known as "FOG" - poured down the drain (intentionally or unintentionally) can cause major sewage backups, pipe buildup, and sanitary overflows, causing serious sewage issues and costly repairs for homeowners.

Everyday washing of plates, pots, pans, and cooking equipment - such as turkey fryers - send FOG down the drain, which over time can eventually build up in the sewer system. While FOGs may not seem harmful as a warm liquid, once it cools, it's a different story. As liquid cools, the fat, grease, and oil congeal and causes major blockages in your septic tank or in the public sewer systems and interior pipes. They can even cause an entire shutdown of wastewater treatment plants.

5 ways to fight holiday FOG

1. Keep your drain fat-free. Cool it, bottle it, and recycle it. Pour cooled fats, oils, and grease carefully into a container with a lid on it, or a free Cooking Oil Recycling Effort (CORE) container.

2. It's not just FOG. In addition to fats, oils, and grease, FOG also includes meat fats, lard, shortening, butter, margarine, food scraps, dairy products, batters, icing, dressing, and especially a holiday staple: gravy.

3. When in doubt, throw it out. Food scraps containing FOG belong in the trash. Even if you have a garbage disposer in your sink, leftover FOG from cooked substances can build up and leave your pipes vulnerable to a costly plumbing issue.

4. Scrape your plate. Scrape all your remaining food scraps from your plates, pots, pans, and fryers into your trash can before you wash your dishes. Avoid the garbage disposal, and use something as simple as a strainer in your sink to catch unwanted food scraps. Prior to washing your plates and cooking supplies, use a paper towel to absorb excess FOG and toss it in the trash.

5. Recycle FOG. Did you know that Hillsborough County Public Utilities has a Cooking Oil Recycling Effort (CORE) that collects cooking oil and recycles it to turn it into biodiesel? Pick up a free container at the CORE cabinet location closest to you and return it once it's full. To find your closest CORE location, visit HCFLGov.net/CORE.