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Pumpkins don't have to be a food waste nightmare

Date published: 23 October 2017

Colchester Borough Council is asking residents to make the most of their jack o'lanterns this Halloween by making, munching and mulching them.

Every October, the UK wastes 18,000 tons of squash. However, every part of a pumpkin can be used or recycled - they are a real jack o' all trades.

Once you have made your spooky decoration, you can keep the scooped-out flesh and make it into pies, soups, hummus or even smoothies. Toasted and seasoned pumpkin seeds make a delicious and healthy snack. Pet hamsters will happily munch them raw, or you can plant them to grow your own next year.

At the end of Halloween, pumpkins with the candles removed can be composted or placed in your food waste caddy. Colchester's recycled food goes to an anaerobic digestion plant where it is turned into fertiliser that feeds crops. This process also produces a gas that is used to generate electricity. In a few months' time, your pumpkin could help to power your Christmas lights!

Cllr Jessica Scott-Boutell, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Waste and Sustainability, said: "With more people enjoying Halloween and carving pumpkins each year it's scary to think how many end up in landfill. 

"We're asking Colchester residents to keep up their good recycling habits and make sure they cut them up and put them in with their weekly food waste or, if they are too large, place them on top or next to their caddy."

The Love Food Hate Waste website offers plenty of recipes for pumpkins and other leftover food at

For more Halloween recycling tricks (and ideas for treats), follow /enjoycolchester on Facebook, @yourcolchester on Twitter or the Council's recycling themed Reece Cycler blog.

Further information about recycling in Colchester can be found at