How To Dispose Of Freezer Full Of Rotten Meat? (Do This!)
It happens more often than many people realize. The reason could be a forced evacuation for a storm or wildfire. You may have been away on an extended vacation and the freezer failed. Whatever the reason facing a freezer full of rotten meat is no joy. How do you dispose of a freezer full of rotten meat?
To dispose of a freezer full of rotten meat, place the rotten meat in a secure garbage bag and toss it in the trash. This will help transfer the meat without the juice leaking everywhere. Then, sanitize the freezer and call your local waste management for instructions on how to dispose of the appliance.
If you intend to save your freezer, you can take steps to dispose of the rotten meat and clean the freezer. Disposing of rotten meat and cleaning a freezer is not a task to be undertaken lightly. Not only is it disagreeable, but it can also be dangerous. The spoiled meat and other foods can develop dangerous toxins requiring careful handling.
Going with the Pros – It May be the Best Choice
If your problem involves a large chest or upright freezer, your best choice may be to let the pros take charge. There are several good reasons for this and only one real downside. Considering the upside to having professionals deal with the problem against the one downside may make a choice much easier.
What Will You Do with the Rotten Meat?
The first dilemma you face is what to do with all that rotten meat? A large chest type freezer can hold several hundred pounds of meat. An upright freezer can hold as much, and the freezer on most refrigerators will hold almost as much.
You should check with your local waste disposal department and ask their advice on disposing of the rotting meat. Some city managed landfills may not accept that much biological waste. You may be required to meet certain codes for the bagging of the rotten meat. Some municipalities have special areas of the landfill for disposing of large amounts of rotting food.
It is almost certain that the waste disposal organization doesn’t want you to put that much rotten food into your normal household trash containers. Your neighbors will probably appreciate you not setting a bin full of rotten meat on the curb for several days. In any event, you must package, store, and move the rotten mess.
What About the Freezer – Where does it Go?
If you manage to remove, package, and dispose of the rotten meat inside the freezer, what do you do with the appliance? If the freezer still operates, you may try and clean the freezer to eliminate the smell.
If the freezer doesn’t work any longer, you must dispose of the broken appliance. You can’t simply take the failed freezer to the landfill and tip it in. Refrigerators and freezers much have the hazardous refrigerant and oils removed before they can be trashed or recycled. Scavenging refrigerant requires a certified technician.
Many refrigerant removal shops won’t deal with appliances contaminated with rotten food. Some may perform the scavenging job at your home, but this can add a hefty cost to dealing with the old freezer. In any event, you still must transport the big bulky appliance to the recycler or the landfill.
The Mess, The Smell, and the After Effects
You can almost guarantee that there will be after-effects to the task of removing a freezer full of rotten meat. Keeping the odor contained is almost impossible. If the freezer is in your house, the pungent and nauseating odor will permeate your home.
If the freezer is an upright model, not only will you have the problem of odor, but the liquids that accumulate are a problem. Working to remove the rotten meat will invariably cause spills and leas that can soak into flooring. It is almost impossible to remove the odors when this happens.
The Advantages of The Professionals
Professional bio mitigation companies handle these sorts of situations regularly. These companies have the training and the tools to minimize the effects on your home.
In most cases, the fee you pay will include removing the rotten food and your home’s appliance. The service should include preparing the freezer for transportation and recycling. Also, these companies have the products to clean your home, deodorize the air, and sanitize any spills or leaks that may occur.
The Downside to the Pros
The only downside to calling a professional bioremediation service is the cost. You may face a bill of several hundred dollars to be rid of the mess and the freezer. If you consider the task, it may not seem like much.
You may also have some help from your homeowner’s insurance policy. Some policies provide coverage for a situation where an outside event was the cause of the damage. Check with your insurance agent for advice on whether you can file a claim.
Doing the Job, Yourself
You can take on this task yourself if you have a strong stomach. In any event, make sure you know where you can dispose of the rotten meat before you begin the task. A plan on moving the freezer and having it professionally prepared for recycling should be in place.
Understand the Hazards Before you Begin
The biggest problems with cleaning up a mess of rotten meat in a freezer are far beyond the smell. It would be best if you considered each of these before attempting this cleanup yourself.
- Rotten meat and vegetables can contain salmonella and e. Coli bacteria
- The liquid produced by rotting meat seeps into the smallest cracks and seems of the freezer. This makes cleaning a much more difficult task
- The products you must use to make a freezer-safe to use again are almost as dangerous as the rotting meat.
- The plastics used in some freezers can absorb the odors. It is almost impossible to remove the odor from the plastics.
The Cleanup and Disposal Process
If you decide to undertake the cleanup and disposal process, there are some steps you must take for your safety and the safety of your family.
Step 1 – Prepare the Area
Before you attempt to remove the rotten food from the freezer, you need to prepare the area. You are going to have spills and leaks. Cover the floor around the freezer with plastic tarps. It is a good idea to continue this tarp strategy through the house and outside.
If you are dealing with a chest freezer, you have an advantage. As soon as you open the door of an upright freezer, the liquids will run out of the freezer. Prepare for this with lots of absorbent materials. Dispose of the absorbent material just like the spoiled food.
Step 2 – Bag it
Bag everything in the freezer in high-quality plastic bags. Many professionals will double line a plastic trash can with heavy-duty contractor style plastic bags. Double bagging is a precaution against leaks and tears. The plastic trash can makes handling and lifting the bags of rotten meat easier and safer.
Remove any racks or shelves from the freezer. Take them outside. If they are to be cleaned and reused, begin the process by washing and sterilizing them thoroughly if the freezer is going away and bag these parts in plastic trash bags.
Step 3 – The Decision – Keep the Freezer or Dispose of It
If you have decided to dispose of the freezer, now is the time. Strap or tape the door shut before attempting to move the freezer. An appliance dolly is the best alternative. You can rent an appliance dolly from moving companies and truck rental companies.
Transport the freezer to a recycling center that can safely remove the refrigerant and the compressor oils. Some recycling centers charge a small fee for this process. If there is no recycling center in your area, you may need to pay an appliance shop to take the old freezer for disposal.
Step 4 – If you Keep it, can you Clean it?
If you decide to keep the freezer, you must clean and sanitize the entire appliance. Cleaning and sanitizing are important for your safety in the future. Clean the surfaces of the freezer’s interior and exterior using a solution of 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach to a gallon of water. Work carefully to get into the smallest nooks and crannies.
Step 5 – Odor Removal
Even after sanitizing, odors will tend to persist. Sprinkling baking soda in the freezer’s interior may help eliminate odors, as will a container of activated charcoal. Some internal parts of the freezer, such as the evaporator, may need cleaning as well.
Pay special attention to the door gaskets. If you cannot adequately clean and sanitize the gaskets, they may need replacement.
It Is a Thankless Task
Dealing with the loss of a freezer full of food is thankless. Not only have you lost all the food, but you may also very well have lost an expensive appliance. In most instances, hiring a professional bio-mediation company to deal with the aftermath is the best solution. In any case, good luck.
Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.
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