Published on 26th October 2023

Pumpkin lantern with toothy grin

An estimated 13 million pumpkins bought for Halloween are likely to go to waste this year!

The spookiest night of the year is nearly here but it’s a time to scare your friends, not the planet! There’s plenty of recycling to be done around Halloween and lots of ways you can reduce the scary amount of waste generated by the fearsome festivities. With an estimated 13 million pumpkins bought for decoration during Halloween are likely to be left to waste in the UK, Cheltenham Borough Council is encouraging residents to recycle their Jack o’ lanterns once the celebrations are over.

Pumpkins make an excellent addition to a home compost heap but anyone living in Cheltenham can easily recycle their leftovers at the kerbside. 

Residents are asked to remove candles and tea lights before carefully cutting up the pumpkin and placing it inside their food waste caddy. Large pumpkins can be left next to your food caddy for collection from Monday 6 November 2023; this will ensure that pumpkins out on display aren’t taken in error.

Cllr Iain Dobie, cabinet member for clean and green environment, said: “Halloween is a time for fun and many families will be thinking about carving a pumpkin together and it is increasingly important that pumpkins are not forgotten when it comes to recycling and composting.”

“Halloween can be an ideal opportunity for parents to introduce younger children to these very important environmental messages, from re-use, reducing waste and recycling.” 

Get creative with your costumes:

An estimated 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste – equivalent to 83m bottles – is generated from throwaway Halloween clothing sold by leading retailers in the UK each year. Have you considered making your costumes this year from recyclable items – from an old bed sheet ghost to a cardboard box robot! You could also re-use costumes from previous years, which not only saves money but also saves the planet or search in charity shops and on online reuse platforms for preloved costumes.

Sharing costumes with friends and family is the next best option and this year Gloucestershire Libraries are running a Halloween Costume Swap between 9 October and 1 November to help reduce waste and support the cost of living. They are also calling out for costume donations across Gloucestershire, just pop to your local library. Swap last year’s Halloween costume for a new one, and if you don’t have one from last year, you can still take part and take one home. Donations will be accepted throughout the swap - accessories, whole and part costumes accepted. Both adult and child costume welcome.

Food waste:

Recipes can be found on the national Love Food Hate Waste website for those wanting to try something new in the kitchen, including roast pumpkin lasagne, pumpkin ravioli and pumpkin seed brownies.

Plastic bags, films and wrappings:

Plastic bags, films and wrappings, such as sweet wrappers, can be taken to some supermarkets for recycling. Check out your local supermarket to see what you can recycle there. If you are part of the kerbside trial, please remember to put all plastic bags, films and wrappings in your bag and present at kerbside with the rest of your recycling.

Foil wrappers:

It can be tricky to avoid all the plastic associated with trick or treating sweets. So why not opt for foil wrapped sweets and chocolates for easily recyclable packaging. You can recycle clean foil in your kerbside recycling in with your plastic and cans, just make sure to scrunch it into a ball before recycling.

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