Halloween: The nightmarish statistics of this holiday’s food waste

Halloween: The nightmarish statistics of this holiday’s food waste
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It’s that time of the year again, ghoulish costumes, trick-or-treating and not so scary Starbucks pumpkin spiced lattes... What is perhaps the most frightening aspect of the holiday, however, is the amount of food waste accumulated as a result of pumpkin carving.

Yes, it sounds dramatic but the figures are this: a shocking 8 million pumpkins have been sentenced to landfill this year, “the equivalent of enough pumpkin pie to feed the entire nation” estimates The Guardian.

According to an investigation by environmental charity Hubbub, 40% of consumers purchase pumpkins to carve for Halloween, and 60% of that number admit they dispose of the inner flesh. Meanwhile, 80% said they don’t consider pumpkins’ primary purpose as a food item.

So what IS being done to rescue the pumpkins this Halloween?

Putting its foot down to unnecessary food waste, Hubbub has organised its #PumpkinRescue campaign to raise awareness awareness of the sheer volume of edible food that ends up in the bin. Suggesting ways to put a stop to the festivity’s wasteful excesses, it recommends pumpkin rescue events “near you” so you can do your bit.

The absurdity of carving a fruit (yes, pumpkin is a fruit) into a holiday accessory and ignoring the edible innards has struck a chord with celebrity chefs and food waste activists like Mark Hix, Tom Hunt and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. These chefs, alongside wholesome fast food joint Leon have devised a menu of recipes created whet your appetite and encourage people to put the inside of their pumpkins to good use.

Also hoping to alleviate the colossal pile of holiday waste is Toast Ale, a social enterprise known for launching a beer made from bread waste in 2016. Pioneering the UK’s first pumpkin brew, Toast Ale will be creating a Belgian-style beer harvested from local farms by volunteers, ready in time to stock your fridge in November.

Meanwhile Oddbox takes the “wonky”,“weird” and “kind of ugly” fruit and veg that doesn’t fulfill the standard appearance criteria of supermarket produce. It estimates 7.2% of harvested food ends up as animal feed or in landfill due to imperfections. Though there is little data on pumpkins alone, due to the fluctuating demand, one can only predict that there’s even more pumpkins than other fruits and veggies to be rescued from an early grave. Last year Oddbox saved 1,800 pumpkins and helped them reach our kitchen tables and this year they aim to prevent a staggering 7,000 pumpkins from going to waste.

Read more | My eco job saving ugly fruit and veg from the bin

Our cosmetic solutions to the pumpkin crisis

Pumpkins are known for having a whole wealth of health benefits; both internally and externally. It’s been claimed to help weight loss, bone and eye health, blood pressure, have antioxidant properties and even aid fertility!

Whilst these benefit your body, pumpkin can also do wonders for your skin. It contains enzymes which promote cell turnover, brightens and boosts collagen too for baby soft skin. Whilst fatty acids form a barrier on the skin and increase hydration, the fruit’s zinc properties are great for acne and reducing excessive oil production.

Here’s our quick easy facial that could take years off you:

Pumpkin Facial

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin
  • 1 tsp manuka honey
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Blend all three ingredients together and, with a make-up brush, paint an even layer onto the skin. Rinse after ten minutes.

Honey is both both moisturising and has anti-inflammatory properties, helping blemish zones heal and repair. Tumeric, on the other hand, helps with brightening the skin.

Pumpkin hair mask

Surprisingly pumpkin is actually great for hair. Not only does it promote hair growth, but it’s an amazing conditioner for dried out locks. Whilst vitamin C strengthens hair follicles, vitamin E enhances blood circulation in the scalp.

Pumpkin can also help you beat the grease! Zinc in the pumpkin pulp controls levels of sebum, whilst vitamins increase moisture and maintain and heal the scalp.

Here’s our organic hair mask to strengthen and replenish your tresses:

  • 2 oz raw pumpkin innards
  • 1 tbsp nutmeg oil/powder
  • 1 oz raw honey
  • 1 oz filtered water

Blend it all up and apply to hair in sections to reap the benefits. Leave on for 20 mins and rinse.

Eat whilst you treat - We advise you try out Hubbub’s haunted graveyard tagine alongside your beauty makeover - make sure you don’t mix them up!

And do remember that any food waste you do have left over recycle.

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