Unblocktober and How to get Involved

Plumbing trap blocked by fats, oil and grease

UKDN Waterflow (LG) is delighted to be supporting Unblocktober – a month-long campaign and awareness month in aid of improving the nation’s sewers and seas.

Every single year, 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean, and according to the MCSUK, 8.5% of that comes from the items we flush daily. Here at UKDN Waterflow (LG), we commissioned some research to discover the biodegradation rates of commonly-flushed items if they reached the ocean. This research concluded that most commonly-flushed items like wet wipes, condoms, and cotton buds contain some form of plastic, which means it could take 500 years or more to biodegrade in a marine environment.

With one of the largest plastic epidemics on the horizon, it’s crucial for the British public to do their bit when it comes to reducing the amount of plastic being thrown into our oceans each year.

Flushing items down the toilet also has detrimental effects on the UK’s sewer system. The sewer network is under increasing pressure due to our unhealthy flushing habits. Flushing foreign objects and pouring substances down the drain cause blockages and contribute greatly to the formation of fatbergs. A fatberg is a large congealed mass of fat, oil, grease and other foreign objects that are usually flushed down the toilet. Fatbergs are evidence of our unhealthy flushing habits and are becoming more common across the UK.

Removing blockages and fatbergs are costly and can take a long time to clear whilst also causing a lot of disruption. So, with all that in mind, what can you do to help?

How to get involved in Unblocktober?

Unblocktober is a month-long campaign during the month of October. If you’re interested in joining in and helping save our sewers and seas, all we ask is that you commit to putting none of the items or substances listed below down the drain or toilet.

  1. Cooking oil – pre or post-cooking
  2. Margarine
  3. Butter
  4. Lard
  5. Cooking sauces and condiments
  6. Food – even crumbs!
  7. Wet wipes
  8. Tampons, applicators, and wrappers
  9. Sanitary/menstrual pads and towels
  10. Hair
  11. Nappies
  12. Condoms
  13. Cotton buds
  14. Contact lenses
  15. Bandages and plasters
  16. Razor blades
  17. Dental floss

The only things that should be going into your drainage system are the 3Ps – pee, poo, and paper (toilet paper). Everything else should be discarded in the bin. It’s always worth remembering – if in doubt, bin it.

Useful tips to help you complete Unblocktober 

Changing your flushing habits can be tricky, but by following our handy tips below you can be sure to improve the conditions of the UK’s sewers and oceans.

  1. Use kitchen roll to wipe any sauces, grease or fats from your saucepan before putting the pan in the sink or dishwasher
  2. Brush any crumbs off your plates into the bin before putting it in your sink or dishwasher
  3. Put a bin in the sink if you’re shaving your beard or any facial hair, this way the hair should go in the bin rather than down the drain
  4. Packaging that states an item is flushable should still be binned
  5. Try and use eco-friendly cleaning products, rather than those containing harsh chemicals
  6. Use a bathroom strainer for your shower/bath and kitchen plug, to avoid any hair or food going down the drain

If you’d like to sign up to take part either as an individual or as a business, simply fill in the form on the Unblocktober website. Once you sign up, we’ll send you a range of useful resources and advice to help you complete Unblocktober.

Once Unblocktober has ended try and incorporate your new changes into your general routine to ensure you can continue to help save the UK’s sewers and seas.