How can I reuse or recycle meat that’s gone off?

We’ve had an email from Amy:

Hi. Is there ANYTHING I can do with expired meat? I’ve read you can’t compost it but it’s such a waste to throw it away?

Yes, it is a waste! As I’m sure you know, it takes a whole lot of energy to produce a kilogram of meat, to ship it to your local supermarket and refrigerate it there & at your home – so it really would be better to reduce the amount of meat you buy or which goes off on your watch. One thing to remember is that just because the date on the packaging says it’s off, it doesn’t mean it’s actually off – learn what it should smell & look like (in terms of colour/texture) and judge it yourself each time. Don’t take any undue risks but don’t be a slave to the label either.

Of course even the most organised of us make mistakes and things expire from time to time, and Amy is right, it shouldn’t be composted in most compost bins/heaps in case it attracts vermin. (Some sealed units and wormeries advertise that they can compost it though.)

I suspect this might be one that stumps us but any ideas?

I’ve heard some people using little bits of bait to attract fish or animals – but I neither hunt or fish so don’t know if expired meat would be good for that. Anyone know?

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11 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle meat that’s gone off?”

  1. Debi says:

    My suggestion greatly depends on how much it’s ‘gone off.’ If it’s just a little — not palatable to you or me — it might still be okay for dogs who are much less picky eaters. I’ve done it, unintentionally, and they showed no ill effects. But it was only a little off, and once I realized it, I cooked it to high internal temperatures.

    If you lived somewhere vast where there was lots of wildlife — like ants, beetles, and the like — you could throw it out for them to finish off. They’ve been getting rid of the world’s things gone bad for eons.

  2. carol says:

    THrowing it out to the elements is a great idea.

    • Cipollina says:

      What carol said.

      Just think about what happens to animals who die naturally. They get consumed eventually. In the most correct way there is – as nutrients for other creatures.

  3. I once read a book on composting, which stated that a certain farmer once had a compost heap big enough to consume a whole dead horse.
    For small scale meat disposal, I fancy that a big compost pile, sufficiently well aerated and kept moist, with the meat on the bottom and suitable ways to discourage burrowing carrion eaters, would suffice.

    The test of a “sufficient” pile is whether the aerobic bacteria are present in quantity enough to make the pile hotter than pathogenic bacteria can survive.

  4. Emily says:

    You don’t want to encourage rats or foxes – so place it on a bird table or put bits out at a time. (cut and freeze maybe) and the birds will eat it.
    Blackbirds love meat and bones, but don’t put too much out at once else they won’t eat it all and then you’ll get nasty pests eating it.

  5. Alice says:

    For disposal without adding it to landfill you could probably bury it – make sure it’s deep enough and that it won’t pollute any water courses as it biodegrades.

    It’s OK to bury dead pets in your garden so I guess it would be OK to bury small amounts of meat, but keep it to a very low minimum by reducing how much goes off in the first place, as you don’t want a whole garden full of decomposing meat waste!

  6. Manabu Farms says:

    Need: Take too buckets and a bungee cord

    1) bucket one drill holes in the top and around to top and in the bottom.
    2) take lid of bucket 2 and place it on the bottom of bucket 1
    3) use bungee to fasten the two buckets together
    4) place bad meat in top bucket put lid on
    5)hang it in a tree

    Come back 2 days latter and you will have baby maggots to feed to your chickens

  7. Manabu Farms says:

    i forgot to say that the maggots drop down to the bottom bucket (see post above)

  8. Understory says:

    Make soap!

    Six pounds fat, one pound lye, some good smelling additions (spices or essential oils).

    For more, see Mother Earth News –

  9. Olia says:

    Donate it to a wild animals shelter. Foxes do eat rotten meat.

  10. ian terr says:

    The question is about meat waste from the kitchen table…. the bones from the joint and remaining gristle, skin, etc. Is there anything wrong with burying it in the garden – deep enough to avoid being dug up by foxes, etc. Surely this is more hygenic and eco friendly than letting it stay in a waste bin for collection by the Council.

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