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What is a grease trap?

A grease trap is a kitchen utility designed to separate fat, oil, grease and food scraps from waste water, before it enters the drainage system. Grease traps come in a variety of models, materials and sizes, ranging from small to industrial scale, centralised or external grease traps.

Although grease trap sizes vary between units and manufacturers, there are two broad categories that most grease traps for commercial kitchens will fit into. These are manual and automatic grease traps.

A Manual grease trap typically has the cheapest upfront cost. These units are often used alongside a bio-dosing unit, which works to break down the fat and grease stored inside the manual trap. Small manual grease traps are typically specified for sinks and appliances without a substantial quantity of grease flowing through them. Despite having a lower initial cost than that of other units, manual grease traps require emptying more frequently than automatic ones, especially if no dosing unit is installed, and unlike automatic units, become substantially less efficient as they approach maximum capacity.

While a manual grease trap may be cheaper at the point of purchase, over time, the servicing and maintenance costs tend to make this a more expensive option than purchasing an automatic grease trap.

Automatic grease traps perform much the same role as manual traps, although with some key differences. While inside a manual grease trap, collected fat, oil and grease form a surface layer, which builds up until the unit is cleaned, automatic grease traps separate oil from this layer into an external cassette, where it is deposited in liquid form. With waste separated at source, automatic grease traps allow for recycling of waste food & oil – creating an environmentally friendly & financially viable solution to the problem of waste in commercial kitchens.

Automatic grease traps also typically include a food strainer basket, to prevent significant quantities of food effluent building up at the bottom of the unit. Due to these changes, automatic grease traps require a few minutes of maintenance each day, to clean the wiper blades, empty the food strainer basket and oil cassette, and operate the internal spray down valve.