To stop drain blockages and avoid fatberg drains over the festive season, An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme have just announced a partnership with Uisce Éirean called ‘Think Before You Pour’.

The partnership involves ensuring all cooking fats, oils, and greases (FOGs) are collected in a heatproof container, and allowed to cool before being emptied into a bin.

It is advised to use a general waste or food waste recycling bin, rather than a drain.

Using the slogan ‘fatberg free drains’ they recommend giving “your plumbing the gift of a blockage-free Christmas and New Year, by disposing of fats and oils in the bin”.

The ‘Think Before You Pour’ initiative is part of the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign, which is a public awareness campaign highlighting the problems caused by flushing sanitary products and other items down the toilet.


If FOGs build up in the drain, it can lead to the formation of fatberg – which consists of masses of solid waste in a sewerage system, the majority of which consists of congealed fat and hygiene products that have been flushed down toilets.

This causes blockages in the wastewater network and household plumbing.

According to Clean Coasts, the campaign has been running since 2015 and runs regionally in cities, towns and villages across Ireland.

The campaign also works with the local community, schools and businesses, to promote changes in flushing behaviour through workshops, events, and clean-ups.


1,062 adults aged 18 and over were surveyed in 2023 by Uisce Éireann to research the nation’s pouring behaviour which showed:

  • 16% of people think it is okay to dispose of FOGs down the sink, up from 13% in 2022;
  • 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%;
  • 52% of people under-35 dispose of FOGs down the sink compare to 16% of over 55’s.

Clean Coasts 

Clean Coasts, which is 20-years-old this year, is a charity programme which is ran through the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce.

Clean Coasts now includes two main national clean-up drives, as well as other initiatives, including the Green Coast Award, the Clean Coasts Roadshows for coastal communities, the Love Your Coast Photography competition, and the Ocean Hero Awards.

According to Clean Costs, all these initiatives are aimed at celebrating the beauty of our coast and the efforts of our volunteers across all of Ireland.     

There are over 2,000 registered Clean Coasts volunteering groups, and 40,000 volunteers. There are a variety of group types, including residents associations; sports clubs; tidy towns; community groups; schools; universities and businesses.

Clean Coasts also organises many annual beach clean-ups mobilising thousands of volunteers, to remove quantities of marine litter from Ireland’s beaches and waterways, and have also expanded their volunteering to include corporate volunteering.