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Grease and thank you: Thanksgiving chefs urged to send kitchen grease to the green bin

After your big meal, Metro Vancouver wants you to think twice about dumping the grease. Media Beacon

If you’re planning a big thanksgiving dinner this weekend, Metro Vancouver wants you to think twice about what you do with the leftover grease.

Priority one, according to chair of the Metro Vancouver’s Utilities Committee Darrel Mussatto, is keeping fat from turkeys, gravy and other rich dinner items out of kitchen drains.

READ MORE: Vancouver Fire Rescue warning about the dangers of kitchen fires

“It causes huge problems for our sewer system. It costs us about $2 million a year just to clean out our pipes,” Mussatto said.

“It does get hard again, it solidifies, and it forms what we call ‘fatbergs.’ And it can actually block the pipes completely and cause backups into our system and right into people’s homes.”

WATCH: Metro Vancouver says “fatbergs” formed by solidified grease cost the region about $2 million per year

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The district is targeting cooking oil, shortening, butter, lard and meat drippings as particularly hazardous to the sewer system’s health.

Rather than pouring it down the sink, Thanksgiving chefs are being asked instead to handle grease like other kitchen scraps.

“What we want people to do is take the grease, separate it and put it in another pan or a can or something like that, let it cool, and once it’s cool just use a paper towel and put it in your green bin,” Mussatto said.

READ MORE: 4 things to avoid in order to stay alive this Thanksgiving weekend

Most residences in Metro Vancouver now have curbside green bin pickup, he added, but said those that don’t can take waste to their local recycling depot.

Similarly, any large amounts of cooking oils, such as those used for deep frying, must be collected and taken to a specialized recycling facility.

The reminder is part of the region’s “Wipe it, Green Bin It” campaign, which is gearing up after successful grease education pilot programs in Surrey and Richmond, which Mussatto said have led to a significant decrease in sewage problems in those cities.

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