Introducing Unblocktober – the world’s first awareness month to save our sewers and seas

Unblocktober - Sign up

Lanes Group is delighted to announce the launch of Unblocktober, the world’s first month-long national campaign and awareness month to improve the health of our drains, sewers, watercourses and seas – driven completely by you, the British public.

If you want to help reduce the amount of plastic entering our seas, rivers and oceans, and contribute to stopping the formation of environmentally damaging fatbergs, Unblocktober is for you. And it’s totally free.

Unblocktober is all about making small changes to your habits that can have a big impact on the planet we all share.

How to take part in Unblocktober

To get involved in Unblocktober, all we ask is that, for the whole calendar month of October, you commit to putting none of the following down your 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
    • Nappies
    • Condoms
    • Cotton buds
    • Contact lenses
    • Bandages and plasters
    • Razor blades
    • Dental floss

Instead only the following should go into your drainage system:

  • Water
  • Pee
  • Poo
  • Toilet paper

To sign up to take part, visit and simply fill in the form on the website. You’ll then be sent a free resource pack that gives you all the information and advice you need to successfully complete Unblocktober!

Why is Unblocktober important?

We desperately need to take action, because fats, oils, grease (FOG), food, and plastic are dangerous, abusive and inconvenient to the sewer system and environment.

But why is that?


When FOG is poured down the drain, it collects in the sewers and begins to harden into big congealed masses that cause serious blockages. It might have entered the drain in liquid form, but the conditions below the surface cause it to solidify.

The biggest of these masses are called fatbergs, which can cause wastewater to back up in the sewers and lead to flooding in homes and businesses, and pollution in the streets.

Not only does this cause an environmental problem, it could cause a public health problem if foul water ends up in our homes and streets.

  • According to Southern Water:
  • more than 3,000 homes are flooded in the UK every year because of FOG blockages and fatbergs
  • £90 million is spent every year clearing these kinds of blockages
  • FOG blockages and fatbergs can break important wastewater pumping stations that keep our drainage system running smoothly


Even the smallest pieces of food can clog up your ‘U’ bends and drains and combine with FOG to create even bigger blockages.

Depending on the food, it might be:

  • Stringy, wrapping around other items in our pipes
  • Sticky
  • Oily or slimy
  • Hard

All of which makes blockages more likely.

Hidden plastic

When you think of plastic, most people think of the obvious items:

  • Plastic bottles
  • Plastic bottle caps
  • Drinks straws and stirrers
  • Plastic bags

And so on.

These should obviously never be put down the toilet. However, there is also ‘hidden plastic’ in lots of everyday items, and, because hidden plastic is hard to spot, these items often do end up being flushed down toilets.

Items that often contain hidden plastic include:

  • Teabags
  • Paper drinks cups
  • Chewing gum
  • Contact lenses
  • Condoms
  • Face scrubs and toothpaste
  • Wet wipes
  • Period care products such as tampons and sanitary pads
  • Cotton buds
  • Nappies

Once flushed, they then make their way into our drains and sewers, contributing to blockages and fatbergs. However, they also often end up in our rivers and seas, causing serious pollution that endangers marine life on a shocking scale.

That’s because animals mistake plastic for food. And, because it can’t be digested, once an animal eats plastic it remains in the gut, potentially leading to a slow and painful death.

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Join us!

So, are you willing to do your bit for the environment?

Take part in Unblocktober by signing up on

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