The frightening cost of Halloween food waste
Many of us will be looking forward to an evening of trick or treating come Halloween, but the Forest of Dean District Council is highlighting the amount of waste this festive time of year brings, particularly around the amount of food that ends up uneaten, as it encourages more residents to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Latest statistics by sustainability charity, Hubbub, estimate that up to 22 million pumpkins nationally - from the 39.9 million expected to be purchased - could be binned at a cost of £32 million. But it’s not only the financial cost; the impact on the environment is alarming.
Councillor Richard Leppington, Cabinet Member for Finance and Waste at Forest of Dean District Council said: “Of the pumpkins that will be carved at Halloween, less than half are expected to be eaten. And while plenty of supermarket pumpkins are grown locally here in the UK, there is still an environmental cost in transporting millions of pumpkins across the country that are discarded once the fun is over, and the carbon emissions that result from this.
“We would still encourage residents to home compost or recycle their leftover pumpkins using the weekly food waste service where appropriate, but it is far better that any perfectly edible foods are used up. Pumpkins are a great ingredient, can be used in a wide variety of sweet and savoury dishes, and if not carved, will store well for a few months.”
Households wanting to recycle their pumpkins using the weekly food waste collection should remove candles, tea lights and wax and chop up larger pumpkins so they fit within the lockable food waste caddy. Caddies can be lined with newspaper, compostable bags or any old, unwanted plastic bag and can be collected from the Council’s offices in Coleford or ordered by contacting the customer services team on 01594 810000.
Although no cases of African Swine Fever have been reported in the UK, the District Council is advising residents not to leave pumpkins outside of their caddies for collection, to prevent encouraging wild boar into the Forest’s villages and towns and as a necessary precaution against this highly infectious disease which has been confirmed in parts of Europe.