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Posted on 11 October 2021

Unblocktober 2021

This month-long campaign runs throughout October and raises awareness of what items w should and shouldn’t be disposing of down our drains with the aim of improving the health of our plumbing and drainage systems as well as saving the environment.

According to Unblocktober.org, although 64% of the UK population say that they’re ‘very aware’ of what should and shouldn’t go down their drains, 48% of people will continue fishing substances they shouldn’t.

What can’t I flush/put down my drain?

As well as being bad for your plumbing and drainage system and leading to blockages that could cause problems, flushing plastics can also lead to pollution.

Disposable face masks, nappies, gloves, wet wipes (which are over 90% plastic), dental floss and even cotton buds are non-biodegradable because they contain plastics and putting them down our drains increases the likelihood of them finding their way to our rivers and seas, where around 8 million pieces of plastic end up every day!

You should also avoid pouring the following down your kitchen sink:

  • Cooking oil
  • Food – even small crumbs
  • Butter/margarine and lard
  • Cooking sauce

Problems this can cause

Thames Water have confirmed that each year they have to clear over 75,000 blockages from their sewer systems which are caused mainly by cooking oil and wet wipes being put down the drain. This can lead to floods of sewage in customer’s homes.

In the East of England, preventable blockages cost over £19 million a year and around 800 tonnes of unflushable items are being flushed each week.

What can I do?

  • Look out for the ‘Fine to Flush’ symbol on packaging (most products labelled flushable don’t break down easily)
  • If you suspect a blockage, clean your drains and pipes regularly with half a cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of white vinegar and very hot (but not boiling) water. This won’t corrode your pipes like some harsh drain cleaners
  • If you’ve used cooking oil or have fat left over from cooking, let it cool slightly and, before it hardens, pour it into a bottle to throw away
  • Prevent hair/food getting down the drain by investing in plughole protectors
  • Replace dental floss with reusable alternatives

Having cover in place before a plumbing and/or drainage emergency takes place is key. By taking out Plumbing & Drainage Insurance with Home Emergency Assist, you’ll be covered in the event of the failure of your plumbing and drainage system. If you upgrade to our ‘Premium‘ plan, we’ll also clear blockages, repair your taps and restore toilet facilities too.

To find out more about our plumbing and drainage insurance , boiler and central heating insurance or other types of home care cover plans, such as Complete Home Emergency plans and home appliances cover, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can even request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a quote online.

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