10/19/2014 03:49 EDT | Updated 12/19/2014 05:59 EST

Quebec Waste Reduction Week aims to keep food out of trash

Quebec's Waste Reduction Week kicked off over the weekend and this year's focus is cutting down on the amount of food that ends up in the trash.

Environmental group Action RE-Buts says about a third of food in Canada goes to waste. They say not only is the food wasted, but so are the fossil fuels and water that went into growing and transporting the food.

"Imagine all the energy, the water, electricity, petrol to transport the vegetables from the farm to the supermarket. But if you waste half of that, it's all this energy that has been useless," said Anne Le Goff, a coordinator with Action RE-buts.

On Saturday, Action RE-Buts held a special cooking class at the Jean-Talon Market so people could find out more about waste reduction.

Le Goff says produce often gets thrown into the garbage at supermarkets because bruised and oddly-shaped veggies are deemed too unattractive to sell.

She says the special cooking class aimed to make these rejects delicious.

"We can use them like the others. Just remove the bad part and it works really [well] in a kitchen,” said Brigitte  Laquerre, a chef at Centre des Femmes du Haut-Richelieu.

Encouraging businesses to pitch in

Laquerre says community pantries and soup kitchens will gladly accept ugly produce.

The city is encouraging grocery stores and hotels to donate excess food to local charities instead of throwing it out.

“Local organizations, they help our citizens. They don’t have enough. Many people in Montreal waste food and we have to stop that,” said Réal Ménard, the member of Montreal's executive committee responsible for the environment.

Le Goff says the waste continues when customers bring the food home, as Canadian households throw out as much as half the food in their refrigerators.

Workshops on cutting waste of all kinds will be held across the province all week.