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I'm sure this isn't in any way hazardous

Today was garbage day, and Lisa and I had our first yard-waste pickup in over a year. We discontinued our yard-waste pickup when we moved to our new house in Ballard, on the theory that it was silly to keep paying for that when we don't have a yard. But under Seattle's new mandatory composting rules, we don't have a choice -- food scraps and food-soiled paper are no longer allowed in the regular garbage; they've got to go in the yard-waste bin.

Financially we may still come out ahead on the deal, if we're able to downsize to a smaller (and cheaper) regular-garbage bin. But the new rule does raise a logistical question: if you live, say, in a third-floor walk-up, and you don't want to keep the yard-waste bin in your apartment, and you don't want to run down to the curb every time you need to scrape chicken bones off a plate, what do you use for short-term storage of rotting meat and vegetable matter? Of course the obvious answer is "a spare trash container with a lid," but a circular we got recently from Seattle Public Utilities offers this alternative suggestion:

CHILL IT! Put leftovers in a container or wrap them in paper, then place them in your refrigerator until collection day. This may sound strange, but residents claim this system works great!

...which, I have to admit, makes me a bit nostalgic. Back when I worked as a cook's help at Cornell Dining, we used to store spoiled leftovers in the walk-in refrigerator all the time. Only in those days, we didn't call it environmentalism. We called it a health-code violation.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
mastadge
Apr. 13th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
For meat and greasy leftovers, some sort of plastic container. For vegetable matter, I recommend maintaining a worm bin. It doesn't smell, it's not a large time investment, and you get good compost out of the deal.

Alternatively, you could invest in one of those sealed low-energy electric composters that composts material quickly and doesn't emit rotten odors.
supergee
Apr. 13th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
But under Seattle's new mandatory composting rules, we don't have a choice -- food scraps and food-soiled paper are no longer allowed in the regular garbage; they've got to go in the yard-waste bin.If I'd seen this 50 years ago, I would have thought I was reading a satirical dystopia.
auriaephiala
Apr. 14th, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)
For vegetable/fruit scraps, I have a _Stainless Steel_ (NOT plastic) compost pail (from leevalley.com/ ). I keep it under the sink, and I put all the scraps in it until it's nearly full or smelly, and then dump it into the compost bin outside. It can double as a wine cooler, as well.

(Plastic compost pails stain and never get really clean. Stainless Steel look brand new after a wash.)

In the summer, I sometimes freeze meat bones until garbage day if they would otherwise be likely to attract varmints into tipping over the garbage cans.
Ted Chiang [myopenid.com]
Apr. 14th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
A lot of the things people do in their home kitchens would probably qualify as health-code violations in a commercial kitchen.

burger_eater
Apr. 14th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC)
We use old vegetable shortening containers. The unfortunate thing about them is that they draw fruit flies in summer.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
Mmm, scrap bucket that doubles as a wine-cooler... and if you leave it long enough, maybe you can make some fine compost wine, too!
(Anonymous)
Apr. 29th, 2009 06:51 am (UTC)
That sounds like you have to keep it until they come an pick it up once a week? Don't you get a special bin to throw it into? Why? And if you have, why should you put it into the fridge rather than throw it into the bin directly?
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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