Meat Wrappers in the Trash

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

Stinky Meat Wrappers

Uggh.  The lovely smell of rotting meat . . . or chicken . . . or fish, coming from the trash can.  Even if you rinse the wrappers off, they’ll still start stinking after a day or two, particularly if it’s hot out.  And they’ll attract flies and other bugs.

But if there’s no dumpster nearby, what can you do?  You’re not just going to throw it in the water (at least I hope not!).  And plastic wrappers shouldn’t be burned, even if you’re in a place where trash is burned.

My solution was to take a used large Ziploc or jar with a tight lid and put all the wrappers in it.  If I had paper towels that I’d used to wipe up meat juice or to pat fish fillets dry, I’d put them in there too.  If you can, put it into the refrigerator until it’s time to take it to the dumpster.  I found that I always had room for it since it took up less space than the meat I’d taken out of the refrigerator/freezer.

I’d use another jar for my garbage (read about it here) (note: to me, “garbage” is food scraps and not all the other trash; some people use “garbage” and “trash” interchangeably).  I could have put the meat wrappers in there, but I generally didn’t need to keep that in the refrigerator and when I didn’t refrigerate the meat wrappers they produced a real stench every time I opened the container.

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  1. Thank you for yet another great idea! I always move my meat into ziplocs before leaving “town”, and get rid of the packaging…but this adds a whole new level. Yay!

  2. When refrigeration space is too precious, add a substantial quantity of salt to the zip bag/jar. It doesn’t take much to kill the bacteria that are making that stink. It’s the same biological dynamic as salting meat to preserve it.

    • Salt. What a great idea.

    • I’m not completely sure that it will work. Salting meat to preserve it also draws out the moisture to dry it; in a Ziploc, there’s nowhere for the moisture to go. But I’m going to try it!

      • You are right about the salt drawing out the moisture. It is an osmotic effect. Same thing happens to the bacteria, they can’t maintain the water levels inside their cell walls necessary for life.* There are bacteria which have evolved to do this, and they are usually found on the edges of salinas — not the same beasties usually found on meat and packaging — Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter and Moraxella which can produce volatile compounds like acetoin, diacetyl and H2S.

        The other source of odor is the breakdown of fats into fatty acids then into short chain fatty acids. The longer the fats are in contact with the salt, the more oxidized they become until they cease to be a source of odor. This is also dependent on the fat content of the meat.

        One other thing we once did was to microwave the meat packaging. We no longer do this after having encountered an apparently plastic package with a metal layer in the middle and stick on labels with the same structure. Zap!

        *Part of that layer of salt and stuff one wipes off freshly salted meat is the dead bacteria.

  3. We have a salt water foot pump at the galley sink. Everything gets rinsed with it first. Then we let it dry out. No stink left..

  4. I have shared this before, but I use rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle ( you can buy them already in their own little spray bottle or use one of your own at CVS ) to decontaminate just about everything. If I put something funky in the garbage, it gets a spray of alcohol. I have found it keeps smells to a minimum till we can dispose of the offender. It is very cheap, safe, and a remarkable cleaner for every surface WITH the exception of…….don’t let big droplets dry on varnished wood by themselves. Be sure to wipe them up. Other than that, we keep a bottle in every room…..galley, heads and pet areas. I use them now in our land home as well. I even spray Tupperware, pots and pans, jars I use for storing left overs……after I wash them especially if the water was maybe not as hot as I would like.

  5. Why wouldn’t you burn plastic? Imagine you actually leave key west and your on a sand beach in the middle of no where South Pacific. Burning it reduces the size considerably

    • We cruised the Sea of Cortez for 6+ years where burning trash on the beach is the norm in many places. But we still never burned plastic. Burning it releases a lot of toxins into the air. Not good for you or anyone else. And the melted plastic is horrible for the local wildlife/sealife.

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