How to avoid food waste?

Free workshop hosted by Parc-Extension library

Florence-Léa Siry is an expert on food waste reduction and runs the Chic Frigo Sans Fric project. Photo: Florence-Léa Siry

Food waste and how to avoid it will be front and centre during a virtual workshop organized by the Parc-Extension library and set to be held next week. On Nov. 23, Florence-Léa Siry, an expert on the matter, will host a workshop open to the public that will tackle issues, around food, health and the environment. 

Siry is behind the project Chic Frigo Sans Fric, a zero-waste and environmental educational platform that revolves around cooking and food, offering tips and tricks in food management and how to run your home kitchen in a way that avoids waste. 

“The zero waste lifestyle is proving difficult to implement on a daily basis for many people,” said Siry, but added that much could be done to make it easier and “find your own way to go green, without disrupting your life.” 

Food self-sufficiency

Domestic food waste has become a major issue for many people in recent years. According to the National Zero Waste Council’s research on household food waste in Canada, nearly 2.2 million tonnes of edible food is wasted each year. This costs consumers over $17 billion annually.

Siry works to counter this by helping “contribute to the food self-sufficiency of people who wish to take action to reduce consumer food waste, while not compromising on the quality of the meals,” she said. 

As an author and speaker, Siry wishes to offer “healthy, practical and economical solutions to develop creative reflexes in the kitchen.”

During the conference, the food waste expert will offer tips and tricks on how to do more with less, while using the food already in your fridge to the maximum extent.

“Find your own way to go green, without disrupting your life.”

Some tips

On her website, Siry stresses the importance of properly storing ingredients and cooked meals or leftovers. Experts say hermetically sealed containers do a better job at keeping food fresh and conserving it for longer periods. Glass containers are even better as their lifespans last much longer than plastic.

Organizing your fridge properly and doing an inventory before going to the grocery store will also prevent making unnecessary purchases. By keeping food on rotation and only buying what you need, you can significantly reduce the food that needs to be thrown out.

Most importantly, creativity is what is most important in the kitchen. Experts say that learning to work with what is already in the fridge instead of buying specific ingredients for recipes will allow you to reuse ingredients and use less food. For example, leftover white rice can be quickly combined with some vegetables and spices to make a fried rice dish, giving it a second life. 

Among other recommendations, Siry said that making an inventory of food before going to the grocery store helps reduce waste. Photo: Florence-Léa Siry

Saving money and the environment 

The motivations for wasting less food are both environmental and economic. According to Recyc-Québec, each Canadian wastes about $1100 worth of food every year. Anyone can make a few simple adjustments to reduce this by a significant amount.

The same organization also stated that unnecessary food waste in North America accounted for an additional 193 million tons of greenhouses gasses released annually. That is the equivalent of nearly 41 million more cars on the road. 

The event is free to the public but requires that attendees sign up beforehand. The workshop is scheduled for Nov. 23 at 7 PM. It is organized by the Parc-Extension library, in association with les Bibliothèques de Montréal.

Those who are interested in attending the workshop can visit either the borough or library website and sign up for the virtual meeting. Workshop links will then be sent out.