Tips for food service establishments

Eating out is big business

The fats, oils and grease coming from the 44,500-plus restaurants, cafés, pubs and other eating places across this region can be a big problem.

Managing fat, oil and grease (FOG) and food waste correctly and legally can help prevent a blockage which leads to bad smells and costs money, loss of reputation and potential business.


Legally, food serving establishments could be forced to close until the problem is sorted out, re-charged for the work to remove the blockage, and prosecuted if the issues persist. Blockages of this kind reduce much-need capacity in sewer pipes and can lead to flooding and potentially serious pollution incidents affecting the local environment, parks, rivers and coastal areas.

All food serving establishments have a duty to ensure their used cooking oil is taken away by a registered waste carrier. And they can be prosecuted and fined under Section 111 of the Water Industry Act for allowing oil and food scraps to cause a blockage.

General advice for you and your staff

It’s important that you and your staff prevent oil, fat and food scraps ending up down the plughole. Here are a few simple tips:


Quick tips


  • Scraping pots and pans:

Scrape vegetable peelings, rice, pasta, food debris and grease from plates, pans and utensils into the bin. Before washing, wipe down using a kitchen towel, and put that in the bin too.


  • Collecting fat:

Collect any used fat, oil and grease from cooking in a sealed, secure container. Arrange for a registered waste carrier to collect it regularly.


  • Protecting the drain:

Use sink strainers in plugholes to stop food going down the drain. Empty them into the bin when they get full.

  • Trapping grease:

If you use grease traps make sure they’re regularly serviced, cleaned, emptied and maintained. Keep a written note in your records.


  • Bacteriological dosing:

If you use this technology, make sure it’s operated and maintained to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep a note in your food hygiene records.



Preventing blockages is everyone’s responsibility, so make sure you incorporate this advice into your staff training.


Use a registered waste carrier


There are many schemes commercial catering establishments such as restaurants, takeaways, pubs, and hotels can join to have used cooking oil and fat – including hard fat – taken away and converted into biodiesel.


Depending on the quantities involved, many waste carriers will collect used oil free of charge. Some will even give you lidded barrels to make collection easier.


Make sure the company you employ is registered as a waste carrier with the Environment Agency. After each collection, in return for the waste oil, a registered carrier will give you a Waste Transfer Note.


Keep these legal documents on the premises for two years in case they need to be inspected.


Oil and food waste checklist

Find out how to dispose of food waste, fats, oils and grease safely from your commercial kitchen with an easy-to-use, safe method checklist, supported by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.