We often find that guests leave behind things like eggs, milk, open bottles of soda (2 liter), fruit and condiments. We don't like throwing everything out and will keep eggs, mostly full and unexpired milk and condiments, but fruit attracts bugs if its not eaten and open soda goes flat. I think guests feel they are being helpful by leaving goodies for others, but it sometimes just creates waste. We can't donate open items and our local food bank doesn't take fruit unless it comes from your own garden or farm.
What do you do with the food guests leave behind?
@Laura2592 Similar to what you did. I will throw away any perishable food like veg and fruits to the trash. Any opened drinks or canned food also go to the trash can. Unopened dry food if not expired are donated to the food bank.
Most guests just stay less than a week. There are not much left by guests fortunately.
I keep a shelf in the refrigerator with a note that says, "Free Stuff, please take!"
What works for me:
Avoid open containers.
Consume what you want.
Leave what other guests might appreciate on a "Free" shelf.
Give what you don't want to neighbors, friends, or homeless folks.
Compost/recycle/trash the rest.
I don't recommend consuming or sharing any opened perishables. People may be drinking directly from milk cartons or soda bottles. I found a half full beer with a cigarette butt in it. Keeping all the open condiments can lead to a messy fridge if you aren't using them yourself.
Good idea with the shelf, especially those periods with lots of guests coming through. I'll try that and see how it goes I think
If it's a condiment, we leave it, especially if it is squeezable so virtually no chance anyone touched it or put their flatware on it.
If it is something opened like milk or juice we throw out the liquid and recycle the container, because as someone said you don't know if anyone drank out of the carton.
if it is bread we put it out for the birds in the yard.
if it is fruit, we will either leave it for the next guests or use it in cooking or might put out for the birds and squirrels depending on what it is and how ripe.
We would either leave eggs for next guests or use them ourselves.
Leftover take out we toss and recycle the containers.
@Laura2592It comes up a lot at our cottage: people buy condiments then leave them. I usually leave them for other renters then throw them away at the end of the season. This year, I also collected a truly epic supply of freezies: every family seemed to buy a large number of them, then leave most behind. I just left them in the freezer and let people help themselves. Then I ate some myself and regretted it.
At home, if it's dry goods like oil or spices, I leave it out for other guests (I have a spice rack, oil and vinegar, etc. for guests anyways). Anything canned or otherwise long life either gets eaten by me or given to the food bank. Anything open in the fridge goes straight in the trash. I wish there was something better to do with it. Luckily, only about 1 in 3 guests leave me anything. My favourite is unopened wine... it doesn't happen often enough, but it does happen!
I have a very low bar for just about everything in my life at this point. This included.
Depending on what it is, I might take it home, give it to the long term tenant/fill in housekeeper who lives upstairs, or leave it for the next guests. Obviously if it's just a take out box with half eaten grub or an open bottle of milk - that goes straight into the garbage. But an untouched slab of ribs? Good cheese with one slice cut off? Half bottle of booze in the freezer? In my belly.
We just use our best judgement. If anything is left that is fully sealed & hasn't expired then we eat it but if it is opened then we are cautious. All opened drinks go in the garbage & anything else that could have touched a guests mouth or hands go in the trash too. We just rather be safe 🙂
We don't have a food bank or recycling. Everything goes inside or somewhere near the waste container. I'm feeding the local gypsies (and bums). They are collecting all kind of usable food from and around the container on a regular basis. 5-6 of them are always hiding somewhere around and lurking.
Rarely do guests leave anything I would eat. Unopened food gets posted on my local BUYNOTHING group. Someone wants those seltzers, Kind bars and other stuff. Anything that has been opened is either cleaned for recycling or tossed. The uneaten hardboiled eggs that I have provided get eaten by us since they are still in their peel.
Since they are renting a suite of rooms in my house, I don't have the whole condiment issue. Anyone who needs/wants mustard just asks me and I put some in a little container for their use.
People let waiters take away half eaten plates all the time, but can't bear to throw out food from the fridge that they have bought for themselves.
I put in my house rules and departure check list, that the fridge should be emptied.
It rarely is.
As with everyone here we recuperate what we can and toss anything that has been opened or started. Cleaning time can take what they want.
Lake @Susan1188 I asked the guest to empty the fridge before they leave. Many still leave food behind. I throw out anything open. Not only I am paranoid that somebody drank from the container, I also sometimes have younger groups and I’m worried some other substances made it into the food or drink. I tell my housekeepers to not risk it. I let the cleaning people pick through the loot before I would leave anything for next guest. I also never leave alcohol for the next guests which often results in it being thrown out.
I will only keep sealed-as-originally-purchased items. Bottled water, soda, single-use condiments etc.
Everything else goes out. That's hard, sometimes, if one hates waste, but I find it easier just to toss everything than pick through it.