Drain clogged with plastic Stir Sticks

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A local bar was having trouble with the drain being clogged on their sink, where they wash the glasses. The bartender said she could not wash the glasses and had to send someone to buy some disposible plastic cups in order to make mixed drinks. She was pounding away with a plunger, and as she plunged it, plastic stir sticks were coming up. A couple of us guys finally grabbed some tools and took the trap off under the sink. That trap and all the pipes were full of those stir sticks. I'd bet we took out at least 30 of them.
We put the trap back on, but it still drained very slow. Apparently those sticks are clogged further down, and no one had a snake handy.
The main sewer is not clogged, since the toilets work fine.
The sink drain pipes are not accessible since there is no basement.
My question is this: Will a snake get thru those stir sticks?
Of course I told the bartender to stop dumping those sticks in the sink, and to remove them BEFORE dumping a glass in the sink. She insisted that she always removes them before they get in the sink, but said other bartenders may not be removing them. I told her to make a sign and put it above the sink to tell everyone to NOT let stir sticks go down the drain. And also suggested that she tell the bar owner to buy some sort of "screen" that wont allow them to go down the drain. I also told her that the owner should buy a plumbing snake to have on hand.
She said that she would have a plumber come the next day. I'm assuming by now the plumber came. I have not been there for several days.
Either way, I wonder if a snake will actually "chew up" those sticks, or shove them further down into larger pipes, where they will go down the sewer. I never thought about them going down drains, but I can now see the problem. Actually, they should be made from something that will break apart, such as a paper, but they are what they are....
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On 10/24/2015 03:40 PM, snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote:

<snip>

I'd snake them...don't think it can make anything worse and it should clear up the problem.
If you end up having to use a product such as LiquidPlummr, it should soften them up to the point they will clear.
Yep...they need to put a screen in there.
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On 10/24/2015 6:09 PM, philo wrote:

You base that on what? Liquid Plumr is shipped and stored in plastic bottles. You think it is going to dissolve the plastic stirring sticks?
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That was my reaction too. As far as I know, Liq Plumber is nothing but bleach anyhow. (I may be wrong). But it's not going to soften plastic, or the PVC pipes would soften too. And the bottle like you said.
Ideally, the stir sticks should not go down the drain, but they really should be made of something that will break down after awhile. They are only in a drink for a few seconds to an hour anyhow.
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On 10/24/2015 07:28 PM, snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote:

There are many different formulas for making plastic and the bottle Liquid Plumr comes in... is of course formulated not to dissolve.
http://www.labdepotinc.com/articles/laboratory-plastics.html
I think (yes I could be wrong) that those stir sticks are just simple polypropylene and will soften in a strong acid or base.
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On 10/24/2015 8:49 PM, philo wrote:

As your link shows: PP has excellent chemical resistance to acids, bases, alcohols, minerals oils, and minor attack from aldehydes, esters, ketones and aliphatic hydrocarbons. PP is very suitable for items that require frequent sterilization such as trays and instrument jars -
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On 10/24/2015 08:46 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Hmm, I guess I proved myself wrong then
not a first for me
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It's a good thing it's resistant to alcohol :)
I have to mention that years ago, I watched a guy in a bar (different bar) spend hours with a lighter, melting those plastic stir sticks together, until he formed a colorful tower about 4 ft. tall with a windmill on top, that rotated. It was really professional looking as well as amazing. In fact the bar owner put it up on a shelf. The bar owner probably had to order more sticks after that, the guy used hundreds of them, but no one complained.
I think that guy was an artist of some sort. This was not just some drunk guy playing around.
So, if they are PP, we know they melt from heat.
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On 10/25/2015 06:53 AM, snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote:

Pretty nice of the guy
anyway it was only a guess when I said PP
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On 10/25/2015 7:16 AM, philo wrote:

Probably correct. PP is used for drinking straws and most drink stirrers. The solid ones though may be PS.
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On 10/24/2015 8:28 PM, snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote:

I think some of the drain cleaners have lye, which breaks grease down, turns it to soap.
Hmm. Green stir sticks, septic safe? Nice idea. I doubt it will get much notice.
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On 10/24/2015 8:21 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

When I read that, same concept in my mind. Boiling hot water might help, but the stir sticks will cool and harden some where down the line. Strainer is looking better all the time.
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On 10/24/2015 4:40 PM, snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote:

I think the drain screen is good. Better, to stop serving stir sticks.
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On 10/24/2015 6:41

Obvious solution is a stir stick inventory control software program. Number them and account for them... maybe by bar code and scanner. No one goes home till they are all accounted for.
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On 10/24/2015 4:40 PM, snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote:

Seems they looked for another bend n the line. Given the size they may not be making the bend and sitting as a clump at the bottom of the straight pipe. Snake may be enough to push them along to a larger pipe. I don't think they would break up easily.
Then I'd add a screen, of course.
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On 10/24/2015 4:40 PM, snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote:

stir sticks. We'll never know.
Reminds me one time when I was a dish washer at a restaurant. I'd been on the clock about five minutes. The manager (who was a screamer) came by and looked at the dishes on top of the dish washer. Found a dirty one, yelled at me, threw the dish across the room. Didn't help that I told him I'd been on clock five minutes, and had not even looked at those yet. More screaming. Not by me, I was quiet and polite the whole time.
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On 10/24/2015 3:40 PM, snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote:

sink. Eventually I got around to remodeling and replaced the sink. When I took out the drain it was full of pencils. Some kids must have been playing in there. The drain did run faster after that.
Bill
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On 10/25/2015 08:27 AM, Bill Gill wrote:

Had a similar experience with a piano
When my daughter was about to start lessons I purchased a non-working piano for next to nothing. A lot of keys did not work.
(This was before Craig's List where every week there is a free one)
Anyway I found a guy who said he could repair it and tune it.
I heard him play it within a few minutes and after it was all tuned I entered the room and he presented me with a box of pencils that had been jamming the piano.
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On Sat, 24 Oct 2015 15:40:28 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote in

Yes.
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wrote:

I went to that bar last night. The plumber came and he had to cut the pipe, and had to remove a section of flooring to do it, since there is no way to get under it. It was a costly repair. but they did not consider the flooring to be an issue becuse there is a slip proof rubber mat that covers the floor behind the bar, and it's not attached to the floor itself. So, no one can see the floor was torn apart and patched. The owner said he was not there when they did the work, so he did not see the cause of the clog, but assumed it was the stir sticks. I forgot to ask if the plumber put screens in the drain (I hope so).
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