Used Food

Pugnaciously parsimonious.

Regular readers will remember that Rufus says I am a “c-h-e-a-p   b-a-h-s-t-i-d” so I also think long about what most things cost before buying.

I’m not the first in the fambly to have that trait. My great grandfather was a Quaker farmer who never threw anything away which largely explains the size of the moving van we needed when we moved to North Puffin. I really believe in reduce, reuse, and eventually, recycle.

My mom coined the term “used food” when the grocery store would mark down the day old meats in the refrigerated meat case. We’ve expanded its meaning.

Dented CanI see an upside down cake in my future.

SWMBO and I keep our own grocery bills as low as we can by shopping the used food store for dented cans. That emporium is a liquidation center that clears out “zoins” — the pallets of rejected non-perishables from grocery stores. My mom always worried that the dent could damage the can coating and at the very least change the taste of the contents. We’ve never had a problem.

There are some rules to follow with used food.

Bulging or bloated can?
What? Are you nuts? Cans bulge and bloat when bacteria outgasses.

Push on the top and bottom of the can
If the lid moves or pops, throw it out.

Rusted cans
Rust weakens the floor of Vermont cars and lets bad stuff in. Does the same for cans, doncha know.

The can sprays when you open it
A can ought not spray or explode when you open the lid with a can opener or screwdriver or Swiss Army knife. Safe dented cans will open the same as non dented cans.

Foods that have abnormal odors should not be eaten.

Lots of new laws went into effect in Vermont this summer.

I hadn’t realized just how just stupid Vermont lawmakers are. All food scraps must be recycled back into consumption by 2020. The best of my food scraps, after sitting on my summer porch, will help feed people, lawmakers say. Oh it’s good to be poor in Vermont.

Oh yeah, bags of trash cost an extra 25 cents to toss now, and bulk trash an extra $10 per ton. Canceling the fees for recycling is just the first step in an effort to keep everything that can be recycled or composted out of Vermont landfills by 2020, the goal of the state’s Universal Recycling law, Act 148. Mandated recyclables. (Sounds really good, except the trash haulers still pay for recyclables by weight.) Otter stuff. And this.

It is the policy of the state that food residuals collected under the requirements of this chapter shall be managed according to the following order of priority uses:
(1) Reduction of the amount generated at the source;
(2) Diversion for food consumption by humans;
(3) Diversion for agricultural use, including consumption by animals;
(4) Composting, land application, and digestion; and
(5) Energy recovery.

Back to the food on my porch. Our trash hauler retired (he didn’t want to buy a new truck to split recyclables) so we make a “dump run” every couple of weeks. In that time we fill two or three barrels with mixed recyclables and one large bag with household garbage. Uncooked chicken trimmins. The bones and skin of that small mouth bass. And the mouse I caught last Monday. Mmmm. Smells soooooo fine. Oh, my.

I good with #1. We do need to cut down on the amount of food we throw away. This is Vermont, for heaven’s sake. Thrifty farmers. Make do folk. And #3, #4, and #5 are great.

I may have to rethink this whole “used food” idea, though.


7 thoughts on “Used Food

  1. Would that be aimed primarily at restaurants? Entire meals that would otherwise be tossed into the garbage could be safely set aside. Restaurants used to do something like this, but then got into trouble because of food safety issues that, rather than look for ways to continue doing it safely, just shut down the operations.

    • One would think so, but the law just says “It is the policy of the state that food residuals … [be diverted] for food consumption by humans;”

      I can envision a food nazi on my porch.

      Unintended consequences innit.

  2. I am glad to see this from your blog, Herr Blogmeister because reusing and recycling is sensible.

    I wash out my cans of cat food for the red “recycle” basket that is picked up on Friday, and I reload my brass shell casings for reuse at the range. Only the AK-47 casings are not reloadable, and they end up in the same red recycle basket as valuable metal for young ethnic American males to go through and steal.

    We reuse plastic shopping bags from WalMart to scoop cat poop from the litter boxes, and my empty Jack Daniels bottles are full of potable water from the municipal supply for use if Ebola makes drinking from the faucet questionable.

    We frequently donate our out-of-style clothing to Paralyzed Veterans, whose truck comes by once a month. They get a plastic trash bag full–which, hopefully they recycle, but who really knows–and only liberal democrats allegedly care.

    Last month Mrs George gave them a 486 computer–that had been hogging space in my office for twelve years. And one of the VHS tape players finally found its way into their truck as well. My “Debbie Does Dallas” tapes remain.

    Mrs George is very proactive in preventing the accumulation of throw-away food scraps; and those that do escape her scrutiny are given to the cats. Waste not, want not is our catchphrase. –although I have noticed that sometimes Cajun food scraps gives them the sh*ts. But, you do the best you can.

    In all, I recommend prudence over wastefulness.

    — George

  3. “used food” ?? Another dumb-ass librul idea. However if it ever does pass ,send it to the prison inmates with a note stating “if you don’t like the food, don’t come back…………….

    • The Vermont highway crews used to scrape up vehicle-killed deer(burger) and take it straight to the Northwest State Correctional Facility but that program seems to have died with the change of political administrations.

  4. First a shout out to Gekko. Pleasant surprise. Bless you.

    All of the compostable organic matter from my home plus tons of grocery store produce scrap, road kill, vagrant dogs and thousands of bags of lawn rakings collected from street curbs have been put in my two large composters since 1986. I regularly moved the mature compost to areas on my lot that needed soil. The 60′ X 150′ lot originally sloped 47 inches in 60 feet. It is now nearly level with the help of progressive terracing.
    Canned goods beyond their expiration date give me a tad of concern because many cans and bottles contain or are lined with the toxin Bisphenol A, BPA. It leaches into the product at a rate determined by time and temperature. Causes boobs on boys and other weird things.
    I make $800 to $3000 bucks a year collecting and recycling scrap metal, aluminum, copper, brass, antimony, stainless, cast iron, short iron, but the tin food cans go to the city collectors. Too bulky for storage.
    Glass jars and bottles with good lids are stripped of labels and repurposed for herbals, formulary, canning and hardware organizing.
    The contents of our garbage bin average 1/5 the contents of our recycle bin and I sho nuff ain’t no leftist liberal tree hugging wacko.
    A dozen or so washable shopping bags have always been in the car since 1980.

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