Fighting fatbergs and hidden plastics: Unblocktober movement underway to save UK’s sewers and seas

Unblocktober, a campaign to save Britain’s sewers and seas from the devastation caused by fatbergs and hidden plastics, is underway and more than 4,000 individuals and employees have already embraced the month-long challenge.

With support from the UK’s leading utilities firms and the likes of Defra and Keep Britain Tidy backing Unblocktober on social media, word is spreading – and there is still time for more businesses and individuals to get involved.

Participants are sent free Unblocktober resource packs for their workplaces and homes, which contain facts and practical tips about how small actions from colleagues, families and individuals can make a huge difference to the state of the country’s sewers and seas.

It comes as an autopsy on a mammoth fatberg from Sidmouth, Devon, revealed that the mass contained wet wipes, cooking fat and even false teeth, and measured longer than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

A survey of more than 1,200 people by Lanes Group plc – the organisation behind Unblocktober – recently found that 77% of people know what a fatberg is, compared with 61% in 2018 and 47% in 2017. However, 48% of Britons still admit to pouring fats, oils and grease (FOG) down the drains and sewers.

The campaign has been backed by the national Love Water initiative, which includes over 40 organisations and is jointly spearheaded by the Environment Agency and Water UK. It is also officially supported by leading industry organisations such as Thames Water, Southern Water, Yorkshire Water, The Future Water Association, The Rivers Trust, United Utilities and many more.

To take part in Unblocktober, participants must ensure they are putting none of the following items down their drains or toilets throughout the month of October:

  • 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

Michelle Ringland from Unblocktober said: “It’s amazing to see what a strong start to the month we’ve had, and it’s still not too late for more people to join the Unblocktober campaign and help save our sewers and seas.

“Environmental issues are high on the news agenda at the moment and this is making everyone think about how their behaviour has an impact on the planet. Unblocktober is a really simple way to make small changes that have huge benefits to the world around us.

“The campaign will run for the duration of October, but our ambitions extend far beyond this month and we would love for more people to commit to the Unblocktober pledges as a long-term lifestyle change.”

To sign up and find out more information about Unblocktober, visit