By Merrill Helms
(Sponsored by the Creation Care Ministry)
As we move into the holiday season, this is a great time to think about our personal impact on the environment. On average, household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Food waste, shopping bags, packaging, and wrapping paper add up to an additional 1 million tons of trash going to landfills each week. Around 2.65 billion holiday cards sold each year in the US could fill a football field 10 stories high. Small changes, even at the individual level, can make a big impact! These next few weeks, the Creation Care team will share some tips on how to reduce and minimize waste around the holidays that you can carry with you into the new year.
Fats, oils, and grease (aka FOGs) aren’t very exciting things to talk about yet disposing of them correctly can potentially save you a very expensive plumbing bill. I personally did not know how to dispose of FOGs until owning our first home. When FOGs go down the drain, they harden, especially in the winter. As more FOGs accumulate, they can grow quite large into what is called “grease balls” or “fatbergs.”
Check out this quick video from National Geographic on fatbergs.
Learn more about FOGs in this video.
These clogs can cause a sewer system backup, which can back up raw sewage in your home, neighborhood, and street. Doing a repair to run a new sewer line costs on average $100 per foot. The average home is about 30 feet from the street, so you could be looking at a $3,000 repair bill! So what is the solution? Easy! Simply set aside a designated container (such as a coffee can with lid, an empty cooking oil container, older Tupperware, or any other container with a lid. When you have finished cooking, scrape/slide the fat/oil/grease into the container and then close with the lid. Wipe off the pan with a paper towel to collect any remaining fat/oil/grease and throw the towel in the trash. Here’s a quick video demo.
Small amounts of the fat/oil/grease collected in the container can be placed in the trash. An even BETTER way to dispose of the FOGs is through the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) program. The City of McKinney offers EACH household a HHW collection up to 12 times a year. Once you have collected 1 quart or more of FOGs, you can schedule a FREE curbside HHW collection. It’s simple! Here are the collecting steps:
- Household Hazardous Waste Collection (HHW) occurs on your regular trash and recycling collection day.
- Label your containers
- Call for an appointment at 972-547-7385 or order a HHW pick-up online here.
- Schedule at least 24 to 48 business hours prior to your regular residential trash / recycling collection day. Confirmation will be made by phone or email. After-hours requests are processed as received on the next business day.