Halloween is the time of year when we get creative carving pumpkins, we dress up in our spookiest outfits and decorate our homes as if they were haunted mansions. Sadly however, all this frightening fun also produces a lot of waste. From food waste to plastic waste, so much unwanted rubbish gets thrown away each year. But what is this waste, and how can we tackle it?
Did you know that around 18,000 tonnes of pumpkins are thrown away each year in the UK after Halloween, this includes discarded carved pumpkins as well as the unsold or unpicked ones. These pumpkins are large contributors to food waste, much of which is highly unnecessary food waste. There are many parts of the pumpkin that are edible, instead of throwing them away, get your chef hats on and start cooking! The stalk should be placed in the composter or food waste bin, or if you don’t have one, the general waste bin as these can not be eaten. The flesh, guts and seeds however can be turned into some brilliant meals and snacks!
The guts is the ‘stringy’ pulp that is inside the pumpkin, this can be boiled to make an excellent base for broths, stews and even wines, beers and ciders. The seeds once removed can be roasted with different herbs or spices to make an excellent snack. They can also be added to buns and savouries to add an extra crunch either on the top for decoration or inside the bake. Or they can be dried out and saved to be replanted – enabling you to grow your very own pumpkins! The flesh is versatile and the most eaten part of the pumpkin, this is the inner walls of the vegetable. This can be used in a wide variety of meals, from pies and soups, to even adding them into stews and curries and breads and pastries. You can even use them as a replacement to sweet potatoes, squash or other veg and add them to your roast dinners. There are hundreds of recipes available online to dig your teeth into, why not give a few a go and help reduce food waste.
Children and many adults alike love to dress up in spooky outfits during the Halloween season. Witches, vampires and other ghosts and ghouls appear ready to attend parties or go out trick or treating on 31st October. However, these fancy dress outfits usually only receive one wear before they are immediately disposed of, and another is purchased the following year when the cycle starts again. This produces a great deal of clothing and plastic waste – which can be very easily avoided with these few ideas.
This year instead of buying a costume, why not get creative and make your own? You don’t have to be an expert with a needle and thread to create a spooktacular outfit! Use your old sheets or previous costumes to produce a homemade, unique style ready for that party or trick or treating route. Not feeling crafty? Why not swap Halloween costumes between friends and family? This is a great initiative for schools and kids clubs to get involved in, it will reduce the excessive clothing and plastic wastage a great deal whilst also educating children about recycling. If swaps are unavailable, take your old costumes to the charity shops, or purchasing one from there yourself. Finally, you can use your old outfits to create spooky decorations for your home or party venue! The scary costumes will make great extras and accessories and also reduces our next type of waste… decoration waste!
The shops are currently filled with hundreds of different scary decorations, from ghosts to gravestones, Halloween themed accessories are everywhere at the moment, but the most frightening thing about them is they almost always get thrown straight into the bin. To stop this unnecessary waste, we urge you to save your decorations for future years, reusing your items instead of disposing of them will greatly reduce the amount of waste produced as well as saving you money next year. You can also donate your unwanted decorations to charity shops, schools and other venues, just make sure you encourage them to save the items too. It’s not just costumes where you can use your creative flare, you can also find your inner artist and make your own decorations. You can paint and re-vamp your used tins and glass jars, use old costumes and fabrics, even toilet paper makes a great mummies lair!
Halloween can be a scary time of year, but don’t let this horror be about the unnecessary waste we produce. Follow these easy steps to turn Halloween into HalloGREEN.