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Waste, Wasteful, Wasteless

Photo of various fruits and vegetables from the book Kashkarikas: Wasteless Kitchen, a Turkish-Sephardi Chef's Recipes and Stories by Sibel Cuniman Pinto

One reason I love being in Nice so much is that the city is pristinely clean and beautiful. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing for Paris. And I’m not the only one complaining.

In a recent article in The Guardian, journalist Kim Willsher claims Parisians are fighting for the soul of their blighted city. This is just one of hundreds of articles on the subject, but this is a good one to start with if you aren’t caught up.

I’m angry, too. I’ve watched the slovenliness of the city go from bad to worse during the mayoral term of Anne Hidalgo…the mayor who prides herself on being ecologically focused, desperately trying to rid the Capital of cars and pollution. And in the process, the city has become unsightly —a bit contrary to her goals, don’t you think?

Cartoon of Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo surrounded by trash and happy

Check out the website, Saccage Paris—”Trashy Paris”—barely a year old. Parisians couldn’t wait to upload their photos of proof of the city looking like a back alley. Some see this effort as a smear campaign aimed to discredit Anne Hidalgo who is running for President in this year’s election. She’s spearheading that idea and openly blames the Parisians themselves, instead of taking responsibility herself.

Twitter post to Soccage Paris with evidence of Paris trash

Twitter post to Soccage Paris with evidence of Paris trash

In my opinion, that’s her first big mistake. Sure, I see the occasional time when a pet owner fails to pick up after their pooch, but in her defense, there’s a lot less “chocolat” on the streets than in the past. Sometimes I see someone toss down a bit of trash, but very rarely, and that’s not what’s mounting up and pissing off the public. I watch the trash collectors who don’t seem care if a few things fall out of the bins while they’re being emptied—leaving them on the street for the next round of trash collectors. When they sweep the trash into the gutter, they manage to miss a lot of it. (They have job security and get paid regardless of how well they do their jobs…and can’t get fired, mind you.) It doesn’t seem they have pride in what they do. So, who is responsible for that?

I remember when Mayor Bertrand Delanoë launched a campaign to see who could have the prettiest flower boxes in their windows and suddenly there were flowers everywhere. The city looked beautiful! I remember when the landscaping wasn’t overgrown with weeds. And when the style of all the city’s “appointments”—the benches, the kiosks, the grills around the trees, etc.—were elegant and tasteful, not cheap and characterless. Who is responsible for that?

Present day street landscaping in disrepair in Paris

A battered and tagged sidewalk bench in Paris

What makes Paris pretty is the esthetic of the details, and we’re losing that…lost and buried in trash. And if it’s not her fault directly, then let’s face it, she’s allowing it to happen while she’s busy campaigning for the presidency.

Do you remember the “Broken Windows Theory?” Maybe the city would have more success if they considered this approach. “The broken windows theory is a criminological theory that states that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes. The theory suggests that policing methods that target minor crimes such as vandalism, loitering, public drinking, jaywalking, and fare evasion help to create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness.” (

Meme stating the Broken Windows Theory

Think of it this way…if you see someone littering, and nothing is done about it, then it becomes acceptable and everyone will do it, too. But, if the police were instructed to really pay attention, and at the same time, the city launched a campaign to encourage the clean up, while shaming people into acting responsible—as well as actually imposing fines for such infractions, then it would encourage everyone to get on the bandwagon to clean things up.

I have other ideas, but they are too entrepreneurial for the French…like pay citizens—anyone willing—for bringing in trash they find on the streets, paid by the kilo…and I bet we’d get it cleaned up fast. But, this will never happen. So, in the meantime, join the effort to put pressure on Madame and the City of Paris to clean up its act on every level!

In contrast to the campaign to clean up Paris, yesterday at Après-Midi, Chef and Author of Kashkarikas: Wasteless Kitchen, a Turkish-Sephardi Chef’s Recipes and Stories, Sibel Cuniman Pinto, enlightened us on how to clean up our own kitchens by wasting nothing!

Sibel Cuniman Pinto presenting at Apres-Mid

Sibel is a chef, culinary instructor, researcher, author, and lecturer specialized in Sephardi, Turkish and Mediterranean cuisines who I have known for about 20 years. As a WorldChefs certified ‘Sustainability Education to Culinary Professionals’ and Agro Tech Paris certified Food Waste Prevention trainer, food waste activist, coach and consultant, she teaches how to give a ‘second life’ to ingredients, using the root-to-leaf approach. She works to raise awareness in food waste reduction and sustainable and conscious kitchens. She educates and inspires people to eat real food.​

Sibel talked about her international initiative to raise awareness on food waste and presented her latest book. The cookbook is packed with 222 colorful, delicious and wasteless recipes inspired from her Sephardic and Turkish roots. She gives easy and practical tips on how to cook tasty, diverse, healthy and creative food and to have a more sustainable kitchen. It’s a beautiful book and a great gift for someone who wants to make even a small difference in the world!

Gaphic chart showing the enormous scale of global food waste

In an informative PowerPoint presentation, she held our interest for about an hour with lots of questions at the end. Her international charity mission, Action Kashkarikas launched in 2016, collects funds which are donated to the children of the world who fight against hunger and malnutrition. She has traveled the world running food education workshops, attending conferences, panels and symposiums and lecturing on waste-free kitchens, sustainable food systems, and culinary traditions at workplaces, libraries, community events, festivals, food banks, schools, universities, and associations. She is been interviewed on radio, on TV, for print articles, online sites and videos and inspired us all to do our part and take some action.

For the first time, we attempted to record the session. We were not successful getting a microphone set up correctly, so we apologize for the technical difficulty and the quality of the sound, but at least you don’t have to miss a single word. (Next time we hope to do better!)

Here it is, live from Paris! So, Enjoy!

And for a full report, visit our site.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds with Chef and Author Sibel Cuniman PintoAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian with Chef and Author Sibel Cuniman Pinto

Headline and photo for the Local's article on hidden extra property costs in FranceP.S. Be sure to read the recent article in The Local, “Revealed: The ‘hidden’ extra costs when buying property in France” by James Harrington in which I was quoted.



  1. Pat R on February 9, 2022 at 11:03 am

    Very interesting…I think if the Food Waste Graphic were sorted by food waste per capita (person) instead of by total tonnage, it would make for some very interesting comparisons between the countries shown. 🙂

  2. Pam Gates on February 10, 2022 at 4:07 pm

    Hello Adrian,
    Love your article about Paris and trash. Breaks my heart that some cities are covered with graffi and trash. I live in West Hollywood, California. Every morning when I walk my darling yorkie we pick up all the dog poop and trash that we come across.
    I believe like you that seeing trash makes more trash accumulate. We have homeless tent cites in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. What is the solution please? Don’t just talk about problems do something about them.
    Thank you for all you do to help keep us loving France!

    Pam Gates

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