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Think beyond the sink: what you can and can't put down the drain

Fats and oils clog more than your arteries ..... next time you’re rinsing your dishes, or cleaning the barbecue, think about where the greasy, fat-filled water is going.

What you put down your sink and into the sewerage system can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the sewage treatment process and the health of the local environment.

You can help protect the environment by disposing of your household waste thoughtfully.

Fats and oils solidify in your pipes forming a thick greasy film and odour.

Pouring fats, cooking oils and food scraps down the sink can result in damage to the pipes within your property and cause blockages that can be costly to remove.  Blockages also cause Council’s expensive sewerage infrastructure to perform poorly, or fail.

The effectiveness of the treatment process at our sewage facilities is crucial to the health of our creeks, rivers and oceans.

Further information is available in the brochure:   'Wastewater - a User's Guide".1MB pdf(PDF, 1MB)

What can you do to help?

  • Reduce the amount of detergent you use when washing dishes and clothes.
  • Many detergents contain phosphate which can harm the environment. Choose phosphate-free products. Look for the NP label - you will save money and help the environment.
  • Use a sink strainer and save yourself the cost of unblocking your sewer. You can empty the strainer scraps into your kitchen foodscraps bin or the GREEN bin.  This is then gets turned into organic compost.
  • Instead of pouring fats and oils down the sink, wipe your pots and pans (and barbecue) with a paper towel.  Alternatively, let the oil or fat cool (solidify) and then scrape on to paper, wrap and place in the GREEN bin.
  • Wrap food scraps in newspaper and place in the GREEN bin, compost bin or worm farm.  Compostable cornstarch bags are provided free by Council.
  • Use water-based paints and rinse brushes over the garden or lawn.
  • Hazardous chemicals used around the home and garden, including paints and pesticides, can corrode your pipes and damage the environment. These can be disposed of at Council’s waste transfer stations for free if <20 litres, for correct safe disposal.
  • Oil-based paints should be cleaned in turpentine and the paint/turps mixture disposed of free of charge at your local waste transfer station. Household quantities (<20L) of paint, household/garden chemicals and other hazardous materials can be disposed of free at Council’s waste transfer stations.
  • Before rinsing your fruit and vegetables, make sure you peel off the small brand-label stickers and put in the RED bin. These small, sticky labels are non-biodegradable and get caught in the sewerage screens that filter waste.

Further information is available in the brochure:   1MB pdf(PDF, 1MB) 'Wastewater Systems - How the System Works 'after the flush'".1MB pdf(PDF, 1MB)

This page was last updated on: 22 November 2019