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
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
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
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
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
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
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
However, if you have limited space (like you live in a high
rise), you should really start thinking
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
Remember, "Prepare For Later".