Painted pumpkins at Halloween

‘Gourd’ ways to get the most out of your pumpkins

It’s Hallowe’en and the only thing scarier than the faces carved in your pumpkins is the amount of waste that comes from them! Let’s take a look at how we can get the most out of our pumpkins this Hallowe’en.

Out of the 35 million pumpkins bought in the UK for Hallowe’en this year, 14.5 million will go to waste. This means that just under half of pumpkins in the UK are designed to be food waste. However, with these helpful tips, we can reduce the waste and get the most out of our pumpkins!

Support your local businesses

When you buy your Hallowe’en pumpkins, take a visit to your local farms. Supporting local doesn’t only mean you are investing more in your community, but you are reducing your carbon footprint! Fresh produce from the grocery store can travel up to 1,500 miles from all over the world to your plate. Whether by car, lorry, or plane, these emissions can be reduced by shopping at your local pumpkin patch. 

Keep it uncarved

If you carve your pumpkins to put them out on display, they will only last a few days. But don’t worry, you can still have fun with your pumpkins by painting them instead! Keeping your pumpkins as they are means they will last longer, even 2-3 months if kept at a mild temperature!

When painting your pumpkins, make sure to use paint without latex and instead use natural paints that are biodegradable so you can compost them.

Pumpkin spice and everything nice

According to a survey from Hubbub, a sustainable charity, they found that out of the 3,000 British adults surveyed, 42% didn’t know that the inside of the pumpkin was entirely edible. The volume of waste this creates is enough to feed the entire country pumpkin pie!

Not only can the pumpkin ‘meat’ be pureed for many different recipes, but the seeds can also be roasted and eaten as a healthy snack. Pumpkin seeds, either eaten raw or roasted, have been found to have many health benefits. Due to being a source of magnesium and rich in antioxidants, research suggests pumpkin seeds can help balance your blood sugar levels, help regulate blood pressure and also aid in a good nights sleep.

Compost your pumpkins

The final step to a more sustainable Hallowe’en is to compost the remainder of the pumpkin to limit your waste further. Composting also enriches soil, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers which in turn reduces methane emissions from landfills thus lowering your carbon footprint.

If your area has food waste bins available make sure you are using it, otherwise you can compost on your own!

Here’s some tips to get started:

  • Start your compost pile on bare earth to allow worms and other beneficial organisms access.
  • Establish your compost heap with a layer of twigs or straws to ensure great drainage and ventilation.
  • Begin adding your compost in layers, trying to alternate between moist and dry to help aerate it. Moist layers include things such as food scraps and tea bags and dry ingredients are materials like twigs, straw, or sawdust.
  • You can add manure or another nitrogen source to speed the decomposition process along.
  • Make sure that the compost stays moist, watering if necessary.
  • Cover the compost to ensure it retains heat and moisture.
  • Turn your compost pile every few weeks to allow for more oxygen.

The difference between landfill and home decomposition

Landfill decomposition

When food is put into landfill, it goes through anaerobic decomposition. This means it has very little access to oxygen and can takes years or even decades to decompose whilst releasing harmful methane into the atmosphere.

Home composting

When food is composted, it goes through aerobic decomposition. This means the food has lots of oxygen to decompose, so the waste is broken down quickly and releases carbon dioxide which is 20 times less damaging to our atmosphere than methane.

Happy Hallowe’en

Using your whole pumpkin is a good start to limiting your footprint and is an excellent step to keeping Hallowe’en scary for reasons other than food waste! We hope this has sparked some creativity for your sustainable, spook-tactular pumpkins this Hallowe’en.

For more eco-friendly Hallowe’en tips, check out our “How to have a sustainable Hallowe’en” article! Happy Hallowe’en from the whole Volta Future Positive team!

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