The frightful amount of Halloween food waste
With COP26, the United Nations' global conference on tackling climate change getting underway on 31 October, Cotswold District Council is urging residents to recycle, compost or better still reuse their carved pumpkin lanterns once this year’s Halloween celebrations are over, to help reduce food waste and greenhouse gas emissions.
Now the third largest retail event in the UK, falling only behind Christmas and Easter, Halloween is responsible for eighteen thousand tonnes of perfectly edible pumpkin ending up in rubbish bins across the country – enough to provide a bowl of soup for each person in the UK.
Councillor Andrew Doherty, Cabinet Member for the Environment, Waste and Recycling at Cotswold District Council, said: “Each year it is estimated that 14 million pumpkins go uneaten. While pumpkins and carved Jack O’lanterns are synonymous with Halloween, we are asking residents to think about the waste created at this time of year and to reduce and reuse where they can.
“Pumpkins are more than just throwaway decorations. This Halloween vegetable is incredibly versatile in the kitchen, whether carved or not, seeds can be seasoned and roasted in the oven while the flesh makes a great soup, curry or even a base for making pumpkin bread. You can store uncarved pumpkins for many months before eating, a far better option for the environment than putting them in the bin or recycling."
Cllr Doherty continued: “COP26, the world’s climate conference, where nations will be coming together to talk about actions which can be taken at a global level to tackle the environmental and ecological emergency, opens on Halloween. With almost a third of all greenhouse gases coming from food production, cutting down on the amount of food you waste is a simple and immediate way for you to take action at an individual level.”
Residents in Cotswold District are reminded that any uneaten pumpkin can still be recycled using their weekly kerbside food waste service. Larger pumpkins should be reduced in size so that they fit inside the food waste caddy, removing any tea lights and wax first. Home composting is an even better option when it comes to the environment, helping save on transport miles.
Householders who need a food waste caddy can pick one up from the District Council’s Reception in Cirencester or request one to be delivered by calling 01285 623000 or by ordering online at www.cotswold.gov.uk.
For those in need of inspiration on how to use up their leftover pumpkin, the national Love Food Hate Waste campaign has plenty of recipes as well as food storage tips to help food last for longer. Visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for more information.
Cotswold District Council Communications Team
Notes to editors
- According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin are thrown away after being carved.
- Environmental charity Hubbub (hubbub.org.uk) reports that 3 in 5 people are likely to buy at least one pumpkin in 2021 (equating to 35 million pumpkins) and that 41% will be thrown away (equating to 14.5million pumpkins left uneaten).