Don’t let a Greasy Grinch spoil your Christmas #ThinkB4UPour

As the holiday season approaches and our kitchens take centre stage, Clean Coasts, in collaboration with Uisce Éireann, urges you to think twice before pouring fats, oils, and greases down the sink to prevent blockages in your wastewater pipes. This Christmas and New Year keep the Greasy Grinch out of your home and ‘Think Before You Pour’.

Don’t let a Greasy Grinch spoil your Christmas #ThinkB4UPour

This festive season, an unwelcome guest is at your door! The Greasy Grinch is ready to block your pipes and ruin the holidays. Join Think Before You Pour, dispose of your fats, oils, and greases in the bin, not down the sink, and banish the Greasy Grinch for good! Picture shows from left Mariana Colman, Campaign Officer, Clean Coasts; Ronan Connolly, Wastewater Source Control and Licensing National Manager, Uisce Éireann; and the Greasy Grinch. Pic: Naoise Culhane

Have you heard the winter’s tale of a Greasy Grinch? He’s made up of fats, oils, and greases, everyday products we cook with, but even more so while preparing our festive foods. If we pour any melted fats down our sinks, this Greasy Grinch can cause blockages in our wastewater pipes, overflows from sewers into our homes, businesses, public areas, streams or rivers causing environmental impacts and public health hazards.

The Dangers Of Pouring Fats, Oils, And Greases Down The Sink:

Fats, oils, and greases originate from food such as dairy products, butter, lard, vegetable oils, animal fats, meats, any melted fats which cool and harden when poured down the sink, contributing to the creation of the dreaded fatberg. Consisting of congealed oils mixed with other damaging items found in our wastewater network such as wet wipes, dental floss, and even hair, fatbergs can block up our sewers and wastewater treatment plants. This causes sewage overflows in our homes and businesses, polluting our rivers, lakes, and seas.

Every week, Uisce Éireann clears hundreds of blockages, including fatbergs, from the wastewater network. This Christmas and New Year, join us in the fight against Greasy Grinch by throwing your fats, oils, and greases in the bin, not down the sink.

How to Keep Your Pipes Clear:

  1. Pour fats, oils, and greases into a heatproof container.
  2. Allow them to cool.
  3. Empty the container into the bin (general waste or food waste recycling bin if available).

A Collective Effort for a Cleaner Christmas:

By following these simple steps, homeowners can save time, money and stress – and focus on the things that really matter this festive season.

“Christmas is a time for joy and celebration, and the last thing anyone wants is to deal with blockages in their home and wastewater overflows,” said Tom Cuddy, Uisce Éireann’s Head of Operations. “That’s why we’re urging homeowners and businesses to ‘Think Before They Pour’ this holiday season.”

“It’s not only about saving money and preventing damage at home or in work, but also about ensuring our environment is preserved and protected,” Tom added.

“We know that blockages in our sewer network can be caused by fatbergs which have nasty consequences, including overflows onto our streets and into rivers and sea. No one wants to see sewer overflows while out and about this Christmas and New Year, so by following these simple steps homeowners and businesses can really make a difference and help ensure wastewater pipes flow freely for all.”

Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager at Clean Coasts, invites the public to take positive environmental actions: “This Christmas, keep our wastewater pipes clear by never pouring fats, oils, and greases from the Christmas dinner down the kitchen sink. Together, we can prevent costly plumbing issues and contribute to the well-being of our water systems. Let’s say no to the Greasy Grinch and yes to a cleaner, greener holiday season. Think Before You Pour!”

This holiday season let’s enjoy the festivities without having blocked pipes ruin the fun. Think Before You Pour and make a big difference to your wider community with a simple action in your home.




2023 Think Before You Pour Survey Summary of Results

  • In 2023 Uisce Éireann commissioned a survey of the nation’s pouring behaviour. 1,062 adults aged 18+ were surveyed by Behaviour & Attitudes. Where relevant, comparisons to a similar survey undertaken in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022 are made and assist us in our understanding of the nation’s pouring behaviour over this period.
  • The impact of the Think Before You Pour campaign shows a positive trend towards better practices around disposing of inappropriate items down the sink. The percentage of respondents pouring damaging items down the sink dropped from 50% in 2018 to 35% in 2023. However, it is important to note that this figure has increased slightly since 2022 from 34% to 35%.
  • 32% of people are regularly pouring fats, oils and greases down the sink compared to 44% in 2018. This figure has increased slightly since 2022 from 30% to 32%.
  • 16% of people think it is OK to dispose of FOGs down the sink, up from 13% in 2022.
  • 52% of people under 35 dispose of FOGs down the sink compare to 16% of over 55’s.


Think Before You Flush/ Pour: 

Think Before You Flush is a public awareness campaign highlighting the problems caused by flushing sanitary products and other items down the toilet. Think Before You Pour is a section of the Think Before You Flush campaign highlighting the problems caused by pouring fats, oils, and greases (FOGs) down the sink. Consequences include the formation of fatbergs, which are very large masses of solid waste in a sewerage system, consisting especially of congealed fat and personal hygiene products that have been flushed down toilets. This causes blockages in our household plumbing and our wastewater network. The campaign is operated by An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme in partnership with Uisce Éireann and has been running since 2015. Each year, the campaign runs regionally in cities, towns and villages across Ireland. The campaign works with the local community, businesses, and schools to promote changes in flushing behaviour through workshops, events, and clean ups. The goal of the campaign is to encourage people to always #ThinkB4UFlush and #ThinkB4UPour


About Clean Coasts: 

In 2023, Clean Coasts is celebrating its 20th birthday. Clean Coasts is a charity programme, run through the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce, which engages communities in the protection of Ireland’s beaches, seas and marine life.


Since 2003, Clean Coasts has been working with communities to help protect and care for Ireland’s waterways, coastline, seas, ocean and marine life. Clean Coasts thrives to create tangible and immediate improvements to Ireland’s coastal environment, involving thousands of volunteers removing large quantities of marine litter from our coastline each year.


For the past 20 years, Clean Coasts has grown from strength to strength and now includes two main national clean-up drives, as well as other initiatives, including the Green Coast Award, the Love Your Coast Photography competition, the Clean Coasts Roadshows for coastal communities and the Ocean Hero Awards. All these initiatives are aimed at celebrating the beauty of our coast and the efforts of our volunteers across all of Ireland.


Currently, there are over 2,000 registered Clean Coasts volunteering groups and 40,000 volunteers. There are a variety of group types such as community groups, residents’ associations, tidy towns groups, sports clubs, schools, businesses, universities etc. Clean Coasts organises hundreds of beach clean-ups annually mobilising thousands of volunteers, removing considerable quantities of marine litter from Ireland’s beaches and waterways. Our volunteering has expanded to also include Corporate Volunteering.

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