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When you think about sewer pipes – if you think about sewer pipes – you’re probably picturing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their cavernous home of the sewers of New York, where adults can stand up full-height. So that must be what sewers are like, right?
Wrong! The average sewer pipe is only 10cm (4 inches) in diameter – that’s about the size of an average orange. And that’s why they get blocked up so easily with fat, oil, grease and unflushable items like wipes, nappies and tampons.
So here are six super handy hints to help you fight The Unflushables!
If you’ve only got a little bit of grease in the bottom of your pan, just give it a quick swipe with some kitchen paper when the pan has cooled, and pop the paper in the bin.
If you’ve got a bit more grease swimming about, then simply let it cool a bit and pour it into an empty container - butter tubs, yoghurt pots or jam jars can all be used. Then you can just put the whole thing in the bin!
Let’s be honest: we all know that one person who’ll gobble up pretty much anything and doesn’t feel that dinner’s done until there’s not a scrap left on any place. Which takes care of the problem of what to do with leftover food that isn’t enough for tomorrow’s lunch.
But in the absence of a human dustbin, scrape any leftover food or grease and fat residue from plates, pans or cooking utensils and into the bin, rather than into the sink, and help keep food debris out of the sewers.
It’s all very well us asking you not to put items like wipes and sanitary items in the bin, but what CAN you do with them?!
We’d recommend making sure you have a small rubbish bin in your bathroom for anything that isn’t pee, poo or paper.
So, you’ve got your bin in your bathroom for all the things that aren’t the 3Ps and therefore shouldn’t be flushed away…but some of them – sanitary items, for example – are starting to smell!
But have no fear – we have a solution! Lining your bin with a small but inexpensive scented bag, like a nappy sack (although anything biodegradable has got to be a good bet) to banish smells from your bin, as well as The Unflushables from your loo!
If you’re a keen gardener, what could be better than free compost?
Instead of washing vegetable peelings away down the drain, collect them – along with any uncooked, leftover or spoiled fruit – and put them in a tucked away corner of your garden.
Then – maybe in as little as three months - you’ll have organic compost to help your trees, flowers and shrubs to grow.
Obviously all sinks have a plughole…and a plughole is a direct route from your home to your sewer pipes.
In order to stop The Unflushables going down the sink, try using a strainer in both your kitchen and your bathroom sinks. That means bits of food, hair etc won’t get far enough to block up your drains and sewers.