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

by Matt Ruff on April 13, 2009

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.

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