Scraps: How to safely dispose of them and the dangers of not doing so correctly.
What are scraps?
‘Scraps’, ‘Bits’, ‘Scrumps’, ‘Crispies’, ‘Gribbles’ or even ‘Dubs’!
Whatever you call them (see a 2020 study by Wren Kitchens), these little pieces of batter can cause major damage if not treated with respect.
These pieces of deep-fried batter left over in the pan as a by-product of frying fish are often served as an accompaniment to chips.
Often given away free of charge, in more recent times some fish and chip shops have begun to charge for these miniature delicacies.
Others have got creative with their scraps, blending them with other ingredients to create a new item on their menus.
But whatever you know them as, they are a potentially dangerous by-product of frying fish.
How dangerous are ‘scraps’?
Whilst some shops sell or giveaway their scraps, others are left with them at closing time.
It is at this point that the humble scrap represents a real risk to Fryers if not disposed of correctly.
Ahead of electrical and pan fires, ‘scraps’ fires are one of the most common causes of chip shop fires in the UK.
Despite this, it’s unclear whether Fryers are fully aware of this danger.
Why batter scraps represent such a high risk.
Similar to the embers of a fire or a discarded cigarette, batter scraps retain heat. When packed tightly together the heat intensifies and continues to rise to the point at which they can spontaneously combust. Factor in the oil content of the scraps and you’re literally fuelling the fire.
This process doesn’t happen immediately which is why the risk is so high.
If scraps are left in an open container they have the potential to combust at any point within 24 hours. Worst case scenario for a Fryer is that they can self-combust in the early hours of the morning when a shop is closed and no one is on the premises to sound the alarm.
Once a fire takes hold in these situations, it can often lead to devastation and total loss insurance claims. Some insurance policies include a clause on the safe disposal of your scraps so please do check your policy to ensure that you are compliant.
What can be done to prevent a ‘scraps’ fire?
Fire safety can be a simple case of common sense.
Disposal into a plastic or non-fireproof container or together with cardboard / paper towels / cleaning rags, will accelerate the fire.
Leaving scraps inside overnight is to be avoided. They should also be stored at least 5 metres away from combustible materials and preferably 10 metres where possible.
Specific disposal equipment is essential for safely disposing of scraps. A dedicated, suitable ‘Scraps Bin‘ is recommended for housing scraps during service. It is also important that the bin has a lid too.
Once decanted into a metal ‘Scraps Bin‘, the scraps should also be doused in cold water to help reduce the residual heat.
Staff education and routine.
Educating your staff on the importance of safely disposing of scraps, and the consequences of not doing so, are essential factors in ensuring general fire safety in chip shops.
Another factor is establishing ‘beginning of day’ and ‘end of day’ routines. In the case of rubbish disposal, this should be undertaken at the end of each day rather than at the beginning of the following day.
In terms of understanding the risk that scraps pose and mitigating that risk as much as possible, common sense, staff knowledge and strong end of day routine discipline is required. But most importantly, using good quality, appropriate equipment is key.
Here at Mallinson’s of Oldham, we know about good quality equipment. Our ‘Scraps Bins‘ are designed for the safe disposal of your scraps and are built to last.
We offer two sizes ‘off the shelf’ but our ‘Scrap Bins’ can also be made to your specific requirements, meaning adding a Scraps Bin to your current set up and reducing the risk of fire, couldn’t be easier.
Mallinson’s of Oldham are manufacturers of hand made, bespoke frying ranges. Should you be looking to upgrade your frying range, please get in touch to find out more