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Disposing of lots of old frozen meat
July 18, 2010 6:05 AM   Subscribe

What is the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of approx. 40 lbs. of meat that has been frozen for 7+ years?

I've moved into a farmhouse with a deep freeze and the above contents within. I abhor the idea of carting this to the dump (and so adding this to a landfill). Since the property has 40+ acres, I could also allow this to defrost and bury it, leave it for foragers (?), etc.. The few options that occur to me all seem equally crazy/uncomfortable/dangerous. I'd really appreciate any advice as to how to dispose of this in the least harmful way. Thanks.
posted by brynnwood to Science & Nature (27 answers total)
 
Bury it. It'll break down fairly quickly.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:13 AM on July 18, 2010


Bury it while frozen.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:13 AM on July 18, 2010


Dead farm animals are often composted (PDF) by burying them in big piles of sawdust. Is there a small sawmill in the area that could provide you with the requisite material?
posted by jon1270 at 6:18 AM on July 18, 2010


Burying isn't a bad idea, but you'll want to bury it deep. A heavy cover of ground lime will help, too.
posted by vers at 6:20 AM on July 18, 2010


How deep is deep?
posted by brynnwood at 6:31 AM on July 18, 2010


I'd say at least4 feet. You want it deep enough that it can't be smelled or dug up by wild animals.
posted by Solomon at 6:37 AM on July 18, 2010


Depending on the soil type, I'd suggest at least four or five feet. The lime will help keep odor down while still allowing decay, and hopefully keep animals from digging the meat back up. It might not be overkill to lay some heavy stones on top when you're done covering it.
posted by vers at 6:37 AM on July 18, 2010


Call the zoo. They may be interested.
posted by Gungho at 6:50 AM on July 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'd go for at least 6 feet deep, plus the lime, and depending on the property's water source, as far from your well(s) as possible. A backhoe will be helpful.

Also, if you have any nearby neighbors, you might want to inform them of what you're doing in an extremely straightforward manner so as to fend off any amusing mix-ups involving suspicions about serial killer-esque activities.
posted by elizardbits at 7:24 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe a local dog breeder would take it. Or the pound.
posted by timeistight at 7:36 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like the suggestions for giving it away as food. Has the food itself gone bad beyond the point of eating it, or is it just not high quality anymore?
posted by peripatew at 8:09 AM on July 18, 2010


Are there any big cat preserves around you? They would, most likely, take it off your hands to feed their cats. In NC around raleigh, there's one called CPT which is a tiger rescue/rehab center.
posted by TheBones at 8:21 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why you abhor the idea of taking it to a landfill... It would only last there a few days before it was devoured by bugs.
posted by amro at 8:44 AM on July 18, 2010


leave it for foragers

Turkey vultures will definitely take care of any spare meat you have.
posted by smackfu at 8:55 AM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


(I know because that's how my dad "cleans up" after Thanksgiving dinner.)
posted by smackfu at 9:00 AM on July 18, 2010


I'm going to try contacting the wild cat refuge and/or bury it. I don't know whether it would make one (animals included) sick or not. As far as I know, it has been frozen for the duration; however, apparently there have been power outages here lasting three or four days during this time. Thanks much to everyone for the suggestions.
posted by brynnwood at 9:05 AM on July 18, 2010


I feed my dogs raw, but I would be very hesitant to feed them meat that had been frozen, even in a deep freeze, for 7+ years. Meat still rots in the freezer, just at a much slower pace.

Can anyone with more experience than I say for sure that this meat would still be good for animal (other than carrion eaters) consumption?
posted by starvingartist at 9:06 AM on July 18, 2010


s/I/me
posted by starvingartist at 9:07 AM on July 18, 2010


Turkey vultures will definitely take care of any spare meat you have.

The issue is whether it's rotten or not, and how quickly it will rot once it thaws. In my experience, vultures don't eat rotten meat. Past a certain point of ripeness, dogs are the only animal still interested, which has lead to some genuinely nasty moments.

Don't put it anywhere that a dog might find it.
posted by philip-random at 9:51 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm with starvingartist and philip-random in suspecting that after seven years the meat is not only past its prime but not safe to be eaten by anything. Best solution IMHO is to dispose of it safely.
posted by vers at 9:57 AM on July 18, 2010


however, apparently there have been power outages here lasting three or four days during this time.

With this additional info, I would seriously worry about feeding this to any animals, deliberately or inadvertently. (Ok, any animals that are not specifically carrion eaters.)

I'm not sure where you're located, but I know there's a few body farms (forensic research places) that study flesh decomposition by leaving cadavers out in the sun for extended periods of time. If you are anywhere near them, (Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas) they might be able to help you safely dispose of your non-human meat.
posted by elizardbits at 10:05 AM on July 18, 2010


What about contacting a local butcher shop to see how they dispose of waste?
posted by annsunny at 11:26 AM on July 18, 2010


You're not planning on planting any trees soon, are you? Seems like burying them some distance below the roots would provide a nitrogen source for the tree.
posted by Listener at 11:45 AM on July 18, 2010


This is what dumps are for. 40 lbs of meat may attract critters and may be bad for them. Meat composts, but slowly. You have no way of knowing if there were power outages or other reasons the meat may be bad. Burying is okay, but cover w/ big rocks.
posted by theora55 at 12:48 PM on July 18, 2010


however, apparently there have been power outages here lasting three or four days during this time.

Depending on whether they kept the door closed, whether it was summer or winter, and whether they used backup generators, it might still be okay. This article says 1-2 days would be safe. It also says, power outages aside, that if the freezer is set at 0 degrees F, meat can be stored indefinitely.
posted by salvia at 1:07 PM on July 18, 2010


Why not make your own update to StinkyMeat? For SCIENCE!
posted by adipocere at 2:00 PM on July 18, 2010


Honestly, I have some well wrapped beef in our stand-alone freezer that is older than I'd like to admit (ok, about 7 years) and its still tasty. Our freezer actually has a defrost cycle, which is harder on the meat than a real deep freeze.

In these food discussions, I'm usually one of those "when in doubt, throw it out" people, but really, 40 lbs of meat? I'd thaw a little see what kind of shape its in, and maybe cook it and taste it before deciding how to dispose of it.
posted by Good Brain at 2:33 PM on July 18, 2010


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