Americans urged to be careful about what goes down the sink this Thanksgiving, as part of groundbreaking Unblocktober campaign

Families across the US are being urged to do their bit to prevent unwanted drain blockages this Thanksgiving by taking care over what they choose to put down the sink.

The call comes following the successful conclusion of Unblocktober, a groundbreaking new public awareness campaign in the UK that saw more than 4,500 participants coming together to reduce the amount of food waste and non-biodegradable materials being put down the drains for the whole month of October.

Led by the UK’s largest privately owned wastewater and drainage solutions provider Lanes Group, the Unblocktober initiative focuses on a simple message: to avoid putting food debris and fats, oils and grease (FOG) down the sink, as well as keeping plastic items out of the toilet, in order to prevent sewer blockages and environmental damage to the nation’s waterways.

Extra efforts are essential around Thanksgiving, as this is the day when Americans eat more than on any other day of the year. With families gathering to prepare roasted turkeys, creamy mashed potatoes, stuffing, thick sauces and soups, it is easy for oily food waste to end up being washed down the sink by accident.

Data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that nearly half of all sewer blockages in the US are caused by grease solidifying in the pipes to create blockages. FOG can also clump together with plastic items to create enormous fatbergs, leading to sanitary sewer overflows and domestic flooding, as well as plastics entering the rivers and oceans.

To do their bit to support the goals of Unblocktober this Thanksgiving, households are urged to make sure they are putting none of the following items down their drains or toilets:

  • Cooking oil – pre or post-cooking
  • Margarine
  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Cooking sauces and condiments
  • Food – even crumbs!
  • Anything containing plastic, including:
  • Wet wipes
  • Tampons, applicators and wrappers
  • Sanitary/menstrual pads and towels
  • Diapers
  • Condoms
  • Cotton swabs
  • Contact lenses
  • Bandages and band-aids
  • Razorblades
  • Dental floss

By making these changes in the lead-up to Thanksgiving, American families can do their bit to prevent fatbergs and sewer blockages from forming – and hopefully get into better habits that will last a lifetime.

Michelle Ringland from Unblocktober said: “Thanksgiving is a hugely important time of year to reflect on and give thanks for everything they have. This year, we’d like to encourage Americans to consider how important their sewers and waterways are in keeping up that quality of life – and to make a real effort to help protect them.

“In the UK, Unblocktober has proven a major success, helping thousands of people to educate themselves on the causes of drain blockages and how to prevent them. What’s more, it’s really helping them to turn that knowledge into concrete action, which is sure to make a big difference in the ongoing effort to preserve the environment.

“So as you and your family tuck into your Thanksgiving turkeys on November 28th, remember to channel a bit of that Unblocktober spirit and make sure that any waste is disposed of responsibly. Only by working together can we succeed in saving our sewers and seas!”

To find out more information about Unblocktober and sign up to receive additional tips and advice on keeping your drains clean this Thanksgiving, visit

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