It’s National Fish and Chip Day – many of us love visiting the chippy when we’re by the sea. With 700 miles of coastline across our region, our area’s fish and chips are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
However, with many restaurants close to bathing waters and natural habitats, kitchen waste – including fat, oil and grease (FOG) – is a real problem along our coastline. It can block sewers, leading to flooded homes and pollution.
That’s why our FOG and Unflushables team is working with local food outlets to keep our sewers flowing – protecting our coastline, customers and local businesses.
There are 28,000 food businesses in our region. Most of them don't have proper grease management solution and, since there’s no legislation to make it mandatory, there's no plan to get one. So all this grease goes in our sewers, which were not designed for it, creating blockages and flooding incidents. This is a major issue which the FOG and Unflushables team decided to tackle head-on.
But how do you inform, educate and above all change the behaviour of 28,000 food businesses? You can’t meet them all personally. You can visit headquarters of multi-premises food businesses and supermarket chains, but that only covers about 20% of the target audience.
For the remaining 80%, the team adopted a different strategy: contacting every single food trade association operating in the UK, one by one, and use their communications channels – newsletters, magazines, conferences, websites - to disseminate information to their members.
So they met, among others, the Pizza Pasta & Italian Food Association (PAPA), British Sandwich association, Food to Go Association, Campden BRI (association for science and technology for the food and drink industry) and the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF), which represents the fish and chip industry.
The FOG and Unflushables tream is also working with the Footprint Sustainable Responsible Business, an organisation representing sustainability and responsible business practice in the foodservice sector, and Circular Brighton & Hove, a multi-stakeholder network of individuals, companies and communities, working towards creating a positive impact on the environment, society and economy.
And these meetings are starting to bear fruit. Some associations have already pledged to work with us and educate their members regarding fat traps and rumbler traps, circulate fact sheets and spread our key messages. The team has also been invited to present at the next conference of the British Takeaway Campaign, which represents 40,000 members nationally.
Changing behaviours can take a long but that’s a very encouraging start.