Leftovers - tips on e discouraging waste

I’ve seen a few topics on food items left by guests ( I’m pro using items left when in a suitable state!). Does anyone leave instructions for guests to leave items instead of sending straight to the bin?

We get a lot of pre airport departure stays ( whole house rental). People often clean out the fridge before they go and put everything in the bin. Id prefer if they left it in the fridge as I will put scraps in our compost or give it to the chickens, or even eat it is still good! I hate waste and senseless landfill.

It isn’t limited to food either, yesterday’s guests turned an almost full bag of nappies.

I’m thinking of putting a basket in the cupboard with a note , and a note in the fridge ’ please leave any unwanted items here and I will aim to recycle them. Left food will go to our chickens or is still unopened can be left for other guest’

something similar. Did anyone do this already?

I only rent a small room and most guests are driving in a car but I occasionally get left goods and I use them even fishing them out of the trash to do so. We have previously had a discussion on this and hosts are across the spectrum in their approach to this issue. You could ask them to put resuable items in one location but you probably continue to find good stuff in the trash because guests will also be across the spectrum in their beliefs about whether these things can be re-used.

If you are trying to make space in luggage for new items you purchased, this makes sense. They are quite bulky but easily replaced.

Tell them in whatever way is easiest that YOU will clean out the refrigerator and pantry to make their checkout easier. Don’t create more work for them by telling them to sort things out - they are probably already in a rush to leave and will just throw everything away.

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My guests also leave unused packaged or canned goods. I donate them to the food pantry in our area.

Thanks for your comments. Yes I think I will update my departure instructions, I think I do ask them to remove everything at the moment so that is probably my fault there!

I’ll trial it and see if there is any change.

On a side note I had guests leave a full takeaway container marked vegetarian from a local shop. I looked at it and thought geez I don’t think I’ll go eat at that place, their vego food looks like dog food, and binned it. Next day guests messaged ’ sorry we forgot to take the dogs food from the fridge with us!’. Glad I didn’t eat that one!


This appears on the list of my departure instructions:

“Please empty the refrigerator of perishable or expired items. You may leave frozen items, newly purchased condiments or factory-sealed foods for future guests. (Use your discretion.) The housecleaner will remove certain items when the interval between guests is longer than 3 days.”

The housecleaner said that it worked perfectly for nearly 8 yrs.

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I have the opposite problem. People who leave inedible items in the fridge rather than the bin despite me telling them not to. Some old fish someone had caught a week earlier and it had been sitting in a cooler for days before going in to my fridge. I am happy if they leave beer, wine, chocolate or home made, not store bought, cakes.