Shock, Horror! Halloween pumpkins blamed for November food waste spike!

Halloween pumpkins could be to blame for a scary spike in the amount of household food waste, according to county council waste officers.

Last year there appeared to be a ‘pumpkin peak’ for household food waste, making November second only to the January collection after the traditional Christmas binge.

While it’s great to see so many people using their food waste recycling service, so much of what is scooped out could be eaten. The message is simple: Carve it, Cook it, Eat it – what you might not realise is this scary face is actually a fresh tasty vegetable we throw away as waste every year – costing us money when it could make a nutritious meal.










Teresa Mitchell, Waste Manager at Oxfordshire County Council said:

“Around 18,000 tonnes of edible pumpkins are thrown away each year across the country. In Oxfordshire in 2018, we dealt with significantly more food waste in November after Halloween, compared to October. This could be as a result of pumpkin mush going to waste.

“Yet, with a bit of thought and creativity, pumpkins can have a useful life beyond Halloween. There are so many healthy and green alternatives to throwing them away.

“We are proud to support Good Food Oxford’s Pumpkin Festival and as well as the events they are holding there are lots of recipes available to make delicious soups, curries, cakes and even pumpkin brownies.

“If you are not tempted by any of the delicious recipes, please remember to put your pumpkin in your food recycling bin only and not in your mixed recycling or rubbish bin. It costs more than three times more to dispose of food waste in rubbish bins and risks having lots of waste rejected at recycling plants if included within recycling. Pumpkins and other food waste can be recycled and used to produce electricity and fertiliser for local farm land.”

Oxford Pumpkin Festival

To coincide with Halloween, the Oxford Pumpkin Festival is returning for its sixth year with events across the city run by Good Food Oxford and Hubbub. This year’s festival runs to 3 November 2019.

This annual event is a celebration of food: creatively encouraging people to think about the food they throw away, challenging preconceptions and teaching new skills.

November usually starts with a flood of pumpkins going to waste, but Good Food Oxford organisations are encouraging people to “squash food waste” by eating rather than discarding the flesh of their Halloween pumpkins.

The festival is packed full of different events from start to finish. There is something for everyone, with activities including a pumpkin party, pumpkin-themed market stalls and pub menus, surplus food cook-ups, bonfires, live music and much more.

All the events will promote seasonal eating and not wasting food, accompanied by recipe cards with easy tips to reduce food waste.

The full festival programme is here: http://goodfoodoxford.org/oxford-pumpkin-festival