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Food Disposal

The proper disposal of food is important, especially during conditions present during an emergency.

Under normal circumstances, people may take for granted the use of a garbage disposal and trash pickup service and they may not give much thought to what they would do without them.

We present some ideas for which we do not have all the answers. Many answers will depend on your environment and your situation. We will, however, raise the issues that should be addressed now so you will know how to handle things later.

The following topics need to be dealt with to reduce the chance of more emergencies occurring on top of the original one.

Critters - Flies, bees, wasps, honets, rodents, ants, skunks, raccoons, bears and other pests will likely not be as affected by your emergency as you will be. They will still be looking for their next meals and your job is to avoid supplying them. Many of these can carry germs that can make you sick so you do not want to help increase their population.

Garbage - If you lose water pressure, electricity, the use of your sewer system, or your garbage disposal breaks, you can forget about using the garbage disposal, as it needs all four to function properly.

Under these conditions, garbage will need to be disposed of by wrapping it in plastic bags and being buried. However, if the ground outside is frozen, you may not be able to bury it. If you don't have anywhere to bury it, then figure out now what you can do later. If you wait until later, you may not make the best decisions and you may not have as many options. Ask your local civic leaders (e.g. Board of Health) what they would recommend.

You may have farm animals that would consume garbage such as pigs and chickens, but anymore most people do not have access to those.

Liquids - Under normal circumstances many liquids can be washed down the drain, end of story. However, in some emergencies, you may not have that option. When floods happen in one part of town, they can wipe out the sewer system for the entire town. If this happens, people do not want to be pouring things down the drain or the sewers will back up and the lowest homes in town will not like that.

Find a solution that works in your environment for the proper disposal of liquids associated with Food.

Recycle - even though it is a good idea, trying to recycle trash during an emergency may cause more problems that could end up damaging the environment more than if those things were not recycled for a while. Study this out and make a plan that will work for you.

Trash - For the purposes of this discussion, Trash is whatever cannot be sent down the garbage disposal. This means that you could have a lot of trash that accumulates.

Some pieces of trash such as paper and boxes can be burned. However, that is only possible if you have access to a safe place to burn things and if your emergency is not in the middle of fire danger season.

Other pieces of trash can be more of a problem to be disposed of such as used diapers, used tissues, food wrappers and other undesirable trash.

Some trash would not be a concern under normal conditions, such as an empty food can. However, if water is limited, your ability to clean its contents will be limited and you may have lots of empty cans that still contain residue from their original contents. These cannot just be thrown into a pile or some of the Critters shown above may become your new tenants (rent free).

A solution that will work for a limited time is to put them into secure plastic bags and keep those inside your garage (if you have one) or some other secure place. If need be, they could be kept inside the house or in an enclosed trailer, outbuilding or vehicle.

Be sure to crush anything that could be made smaller to take up less space. If a used jar or bottle has a lid, put the lid on it to help seal out the odors that attract Critters.

Make sure that nothing sharp can poke through. Put such items inside other containers to reduce the chance of them poking the bag. Do not EVER put anything hot in a trash bag. Besides fire danger, it could also melt the bag and thus reduce its effectiveness.

However, if you have limited space (like you live in a high rise), you should really start thinking now about what to do later. Enlist all the government agencies that you can to help figure this out. Most emergencies will affect entire neighborhoods so you will not be alone.

So, after reading this page, perhaps you need to go back and evaluate how many and what kinds of plastic bags you have stored. If you think about it, plastic bags with built-in drawstrings may not seal off as easily as those with twist tabs. This might be a good time to use some of that packing tape that you stored. With that in mind, consider how often you would be accessing a trash bag before it is full. In some cases, smaller is better.

To help you, we have provided some links to Plastic Trash Bags:

  

Remember, "Prepare For Later".

 

 

 

 

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