26 October 2023

The trick is to turn your pumpkin into a treat

Aberdeenshire Council is hoping to reduce the food waste problem this Halloween by asking residents to put pen to pumpkin and consume their gourds instead of carving them this year.

According to environmental campaign group Hubbub, the true terror of Halloween will be that around 15 million pumpkins in the UK will be carved and never eaten.

Similarly, compositional waste analysis in Aberdeenshire highlights that loose and packaged food waste accounts for more than 22% of what ends up in residents' refuse bins. This spikes near Halloween as people begin to throw away carved pumpkins.

If residents choose to put pen to pumpkins, or decorate them more creatively instead of carving, they will remain fresher for longer and can then be eaten instead of going to waste—saving them money on their weekly shop.

The reduction in refuse is also good for the environment and saves a lot of money in terms of disposal costs, which have been increasing steadily over recent years.

Waste Manager Ros Baxter said: "Keeping pumpkins fresh for longer by creatively decorating them—with pens or jelly, squishy sweets, or their own costume—means more opportunity to get the kids involved both creatively and with cooking up some delicious pumpkin-based recipes. We will even be sharing some on our Recycling & Waste Facebook page.

"Halloween is a great time to get creative with we dress ourselves and the same can be done for our pumpkins, while still being able to use them as what they are truly meant to be—food."

Remaining pumpkins too old to be eaten can still be recycled into something good instead of being put in the refuse bin.

To recycle pumpkins, they can be chopped up and put into food waste caddies or placed, whole, on top of food bins to be collected. Remember to remove any decorative accessories previously added to avoid the evil of contamination.

All pumpkins captured for recycling in Aberdeenshire will be sacrificed by Keenan Recycling for both biofuel and fertiliser in local farms. So, let’s once again resurrect the pumpkin's true purpose this Halloween, and not just decorate it, but—devour it.