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Pumpkins are far too good to be thrown away!

This year, Warwickshire residents who are looking for ways to live more sustainably are being encouraged to take a greener approach to pumpkins.

Every year, 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin are thrown away at Halloween, which is the equivalent of around 360 million portions of pumpkin pie. It’s a little-known fact that pumpkin is a healthy and versatile vegetable that can be used in lots of different recipes, including soups, crisps, cakes and curries. BBC Good Food have some great ideas.

So, for those planning to carve a pumpkin for Halloween, the advice is to hollow it out as much as possible to create a thin shell and keep the flesh and seeds for eating.

Once the pumpkin has done its job and scared away any bad spirits, then it can be used as a temporary caddy to collect food scraps ready for home composting or the local food waste doorstep collection.

It is even possible to compost a pumpkin at home without a compost bin and it’s fun and allows you to let off some steam! Time to get smashing:

  • Remove any candles and wax from the pumpkins. Make sure not to include any pumpkins with glitter or paint – everything must be organic.
  • Take the pumpkins to your garden – Sunny areas will help speed up the composting process. 
  • Pick out some hammers or baseball bats or even a strong stick.
  • Safety First – Make sure to use protective goggles and wear clothes that can get messy.
  • Now just have fun and smash those pumpkins!  Be careful, make sure the fun does not get out of hand and that children are supervised at all times.   
  • Cover –If the waste is not to be taken away, once the pieces are broken down and spread out, cover them with a layer of soil
  • Let Nature do its thing – The pumpkin will rot down nicely and fertilise the soil.

If you want to reduce your impact on the environment but aren’t planning to eat the pumpkin, then it’s best not to carve one in the first place. You could choose a different vegetable instead that you are more likely to eat, such as a butternut squash or turnip. The worst option of all, that should be avoided at all costs, is buying a plastic pumpkin, as they don’t biodegrade or compost and are a waste of precious resources.

Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate and Culture Heather Timms said: “Carving pumpkins is a fun activity to do with the children this half-term, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to get them choosing what to do with the flesh and seeds of the pumpkin. Making sure you use every part of the pumpkin might feel like only a small step to living a more sustainable life, but it all counts. Together we can make a big difference to reducing food waste and minimising our impact on the wider environment.”

For more information on waste and recycling at Warwickshire County Council, including composting options, please visit:

For more information about how Warwickshire County Council is facing the challenges of the climate change emergency, visit:

Get the latest news about how Warwickshire County Council and partners are facing the challenge of the climate emergency and how you can get involved:

Published: 19th October 2023

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