Reuse or recycle your pumpkin

Gloucestershire’s Joint Waste Team is urging residents in the Forest of Dean to recycle, compost or better still reuse their carved pumpkin lanterns once this year’s spooky celebrations are over.

Now the third largest retail event in the UK, falling only behind Christmas and Easter, Halloween is responsible for eighteen thousand tonnes of perfectly edible pumpkin ending up in rubbish bins across the country. 

Put in context, this figure equates to more than all the black bin waste collected from Forest of Dean homes in an entire year.

Councillor Chris McFarling, Cabinet Member for the Environment at the Forest of Dean District Council said: ‘A recent study has shown that 70% of carved pumpkins don’t get eaten, very often in the mistaken belief that they are not edible or because they are simply not seen as food.  However, pumpkin is an incredibly versatile vegetable.  Everything can be eaten, from the flowers to the seeds, stringy pulp and flesh of the fruit.’

‘While Halloween is clearly a time to have fun we would ask residents to take a moment to think about the environmental impact this time of year can have.  Pumpkin, like any food ending up in landfill, will over time create methane - a harmful climate change gas - so we are taking this opportunity to ask residents to turn their pumpkin into something tasty to eat or to compost or recycle it.’

Pumpkin can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes including soups, breads, cakes and muffins, be added to pasta meals or salads, and of course be used as a vegetable in its own right.

Forest of Dean residents are reminded that they can recycle their old pumpkins using the weekly food waste recycling service.  Simply remove any tea lights or candles before either putting the pumpkin whole into the black kerbside caddy or carefully cutting it into smaller pieces first.

Anyone needing a new or additional caddy can pick one up from the Council’s Reception in Coleford, or order one online here or request one to be delivered by calling 01594 810000.

Pumpkins also make a useful addition to any compost heap or bin.  With fallen autumn leaves also in abundance at this time of year, now is the perfect time to give home composting a go. 

All residents in Gloucestershire are eligible to purchase compost bins through Gloucestershire County Council’s subsidised scheme.  Bins can be purchased from as little as £8.49 for 220ltr bin or £9.99 for a 330ltr bin (£5.99 delivery charge applies).  Both bins are available on a ‘buy one, buy one half-price’ offer.  More information can be found online at or by calling 0844 571 4444.*

Additional Information

The Joint Waste Partnership provides waste and recycling services on behalf of Cheltenham Borough Council, Cotswold District Council, Forest of Dean District Council, Tewkesbury Borough Council and Gloucestershire County Council. 

Survey of 2,000 UK adults by behaviour-change charity Hubbub, in conjunction with Unilever (Joint Ambition for a Zero Food Waste Britain), found:

Half do not consider pumpkin as a food;

Over 40% of households now buy a pumpkin with many households buying more than one;

15 million pumpkins per year go to waste instead of being eaten in the UK (enough for a bowl of pumpkin soup for everyone in Britain). 

33% will cook the pumpkin; 20% put their pumpkin in the food waste; 19% add to a compost heap, and 25% throw away in normal waste.  Around 5 million pumpkins end up in landfill each year;

Half of people have never eaten pumpkin.

According to research by Mintel the British public was expected to spend £310million on Halloween in 2016.

Food waste collected from the kerbside is treated in Gloucestershire at Andigestion’s anaerobic digestion facility where it is turned into a ‘digestate’ - used as a fertiliser on the land to give back vital nutrients - with gas emissions captured and fed to the grid. 

Calls to the 0844 571 4444 cost 5 pence per minute (plus any access charges applied by individuals’ own telephone company).

Around 12,500 tonnes of Halloween costumes get sent to landfill each year (source



  • 01594 810000