When it comes to disposing of food waste, many of us have developed the habit of simply rinsing it down the kitchen sink. However, food items can cause serious problems in our plumbing system, leading to clogs, blockages, and even damage. That’s the last thing you want to deal with when hosting family members during the holiday season. We will explore some surprising food items that should never go down the drain and provide alternative methods for disposing of them effectively and responsibly.
Fats, Oils, and Grease – Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) come from meat fats, shortening, butter, margarine, gravy, and condiments like mayonnaise, dressings, sauces, and sour cream. Pouring these items down the drain may seem harmless, but they can cause major issues—especially during the holidays. As these substances cool, they solidify and create blockages in your pipes. Instead, let oil and grease cool then dispose of it in a sealed container for the trash. Or recycle used cooking oil when possible— visit https://recyclenation.com to search for a local option. Alternatively, consider waiting until the substance has cooled enough that you can wipe the dish or pan down with a paper towel and throw it in the trash. Don’t use a cloth towel to wipe off the dishes as this will just send the FOG to the pipes connected to your washing machine.
Coffee Grounds – While coffee grounds may appear harmless, they can clump together and create a thick sludge in your drains. Instead of pouring them down the sink, use them in your garden as compost or add them to your indoor plants for natural fertilization. If you want to get creative, you can use the coffee grounds as a natural exfoliant for your skin and face. You can rub them on your body during a shower to help remove built up dirt and grime. To make a coffee ground face mask, simply add a few drops of micellar water and stir until clumpy. Leave on for about 10 minutes then gently rub and wash off with warm water.
Eggshells – During the holidays, no single ingredient is used more than eggs. From every dish cooked to every dessert baked, and even for snacks in between, eggs will most definitely be used this holiday season. But what to do with the eggshells? Eggshells are often mistakenly thought to be safe for disposal in the sink. However, they can stick to the pipe walls and contribute to clogs. Dispose of eggshells by adding them to your compost bin or grinding them into small pieces and scattering them in your garden to enrich the soil. But don’t limit yourself to just the compost bin, eggshells can be used in various ways. Use an eggshell as a seedling pot and start your garden from an egg carton! Make sure to add a small drainage hole on the bottom to ensure proper water flow. You can also make chalk from eggshells. Simply mix together ground eggshells, water, flour, and food coloring. This is great to do with children and safe for them to use daily!
Fruits & Vegetables – Peels from fruits and vegetables may seem harmless, but they really are not. Instead, utilize these peels by incorporating them in recipes, making fruit and vegetable stock, or adding them to a compost pile. Fibrous vegetables, such as celery, asparagus, and corn husks, should never go down the drain. The strings and fibers in these vegetables can wrap around your garbage disposal unit or clog the pipes. Add them to your compost bin or wrap them in newspaper and put them in the trash. Using a sink strainer can also help catch these fibers for easy disposal.
Helpful Tips to Keep Your Pipes Clean
Curbing the habit of tossing everything down the drain is a great way to make sure your pipes are ready for the holiday season, but maintaining your pipes will ensure they are clear all year long! To unclog a dirty drain, try mixing a solution of 1 part vinegar to 1 part baking soda and pouring it down the drain immediately. After one hour, pour hot water down the drain to flush the pipe. Doing this on a regular basis will help clear out the accumulation of FOG and prevent further buildup.
Proper disposal of food waste is essential for maintaining a healthy plumbing system. By avoiding the common practice of rinsing food items down the drain, we can prevent clogs, blockages, and potential damage to our pipes. Instead, consider alternative methods such as composting, reusing, or even recycling to dispose of these surprising food items responsibly. Let’s make mindful choices this holiday season and all year round for the well-being of our plumbing and environment.