Devon residents are being urged to slash food waste this Halloween by eating the pumpkins they carve up.
The sixth annual Pumpkin Rescue is part of Recycle Devon’s campaign to reduce food waste – an estimated 42 per cent of households will buy pumpkins this Halloween to use as Jack-o’-lanterns.
But many will discard the flesh – a scary 18,000 tonnes of edible pumpkin ends up in the bin each year, equivalent in weight as 1,500 double decker buses.
While this year’s celebrations may be more low key than usual, residents are urged to support the campaign to #EatYourPumpkin.
If you’re planning to buy a pumpkin, here are some top tips to get your money’s worth and reduce waste at the same time:
• Scoop out and roast the flesh and use to make delicious pumpkin soup, pie, wedges and pasta sauce. Find some tasty pumpkin recipes HERE.
• Remove pumpkin seeds and roast for a nutritious snack or use in muesli, smoothies, bread baking or toppings on savoury dishes for a vitamin and mineral boost.
• After Halloween, smash your pumpkin into small pieces – a great activity for children – and add to your garden compost bin. Smaller pieces will rot down quicker than large chunks.
• If you have a food waste collection in your area, cut your pumpkin into chunks and pop it in your food waste caddy so it can be used to generate energy and fertiliser for agriculture.
Additionally you can download Recycle Devon’s FREE online recipe book, which includes a variety of non-Halloween dishes.
Find out more at www.recycledevon.org/blog/the-horror-of-halloween-food-waste. And remember to remove any candles and decorations first.
It’s not just about pumpkins, saving any food from going to waste is great for the planet – the process of putting food on our plates generates 30 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases.
Councillor David Harvey, Vice Chair of the Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee said: “Food waste is a huge problem in Devon and the UK. Nationally we throw away 4.5 million tonnes of edible food every year, enough to fill 38 million wheelie bins.
“It’s a waste of food, money and resources, especially as a staggering 90 per cent of the UK’s fruit and 50 per cent of vegetables comes from overseas. The huge amount of resources that goes into the production of our food amounts to the same amount of greenhouse gases as 4.6 million return flights from London to Perth.
“It makes sense to keep as much food out of the bin as possible, and to start wasting less and saving more. Lots of people have adopted waste saving habits since the COVID 19 pandemic such as meal planning, writing a shopping list, freezing food they may not eat in time and using up leftovers.
“But special occasions and celebrations can often lead to excess and waste. Halloween is a great time to have some fun and with a few good habits it needn’t cost the earth.”
For more tips and advice about reducing your food waste over Halloween and throughout the year, visit www.recycledevon.org and download our online recipe book.