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5 recycling ideas for your Jack-O-Lantern this Halloween

While making a Jack-O-Lantern might be a great Halloween tradition, research shows only a third of people who buy a pumpkin to carve actually cook with it.

Worse still, the UK bins an average of 8 million pumpkins every year. This adds up to the equivalent of enough pumpkin pie to feed the entire nation.

As a result, have pulled together 5 ways you can reduce pumpkin waste this Halloween

Eat it

While pumpkin pie is perhaps the best-known option for Halloween leftovers, there are a ton of other options, both sweet and savoury. Using the pumpkin flesh to create a hearty soup can make for a simple recipe and perfect winter warmer. For those who are more adventurous, pumpkins can be used to whip up houmous, bake muffins or feed the family with a pot of risotto. If the flavour of pumpkin is not to your taste, roasting the seeds can make for a healthy snack.

If you do decide to eat your pumpkin, it is great news for your body too as the fruit is packed full of beneficial ingredients. High in vitamin A and C, pumpkin can help your body to fight off infections, viruses, and recover from the common cold. Pumpkins are also packed with fibre, helping you to feel fuller for longer and easing digestion.

Craft it

If cooking is not your strong suit, there is also lots of great DIY craft projects you can use leftover pumpkins for. Pumpkin spice is an autumn favourite for everything from our lattes to home fragrances. To fill your home with an autumnal aroma, clean out your pumpkin and pour in melted wax, mix with spices such as cinnamon and ginger for an extra seasonal scent and add a wick.

Alternatively, use your empty pumpkin to create an autumnal planter for your garden or home, simply scrape out the inside, drill holes for drainage and add potting soil and plants of your choice.

If you prefer to help wildlife, clean out your pumpkin, cut holes in each side with a skewer or sharp knife and add a string to hang from trees in your garden. You can then fill your old pumpkin with bird seed and watch as feathery friends flock in.

Put it on your face - Face mask it

As pumpkins are packed full of vitamins and nutrients, turning them into a DIY face mask like this one from Beautylish can be a great way to repurpose yours. AHAs or alpha hydroxy acids are widely praised in the skincare world for the ability to help exfoliate and renew skin, and pumpkins are packed full of them!

Not only this, pumpkins contain vitamin E, which can aid acne by reducing inflammation and controlling oil.

Feed animals with it

There are plenty of animals which can benefit from your unwanted pumpkin. Wildlife such as squirrels, foxes and birds can all struggle for food during the colder months and so leaving out your pumpkin can provide a nutritious meal for them.

Before doing this, the RSPCA stresses the importance of cleaning out any candle wax or tea light holders. To help out any animals, be sure to chop down your old pumpkin into smaller pieces.

If you have a canine companion, pumpkin is also suitable to feed to dogs. Just make sure you are using fresh pumpkin innards and not feeding them any old, leftover pumpkins. Try setting aside some of the flesh while you are carving to turn into treats and save the seeds to offer as a beneficial snack. Pumpkin can aid your dog’s digestion, stop dehydration, and offer nutritional benefits.

Correctly dispose of it

If all else fails and you must throw out your pumpkin, it is better to ensure you are responsibly disposing of it. If you have a garden, composting your pumpkin is a good option, simply cut down any bigger chunks of rind to speed up the process and any flesh should break down quickly.

If you don’t have your own garden, you can offer up your old pumpkin to any gardeners or allotment owners who might be interested in taking it off your hands. Lastly, if it does go in the bin, try to make sure you use a food waste recycling bin where possible.

The amount of waste generated from Halloween pumpkins is staggering. It’s hard to believe we throw away 8 million pumpkins each year in the UK when there are so many options for recycling them.

“Sending your pumpkin straight to landfill will result in it emitting methane and contributing to greenhouse gasses. Therefore, it is important to look at other options before throwing them away.

“With the flesh being ideal for a number of recipes, it’s easy to track down a dish that takes your fancy. As pumpkins are packed full of vitamins and nutrients, it is a great shame to let these go to waste. Health concerns have become top priority in the current climate and pumpkin can be a great addition to your diet that helps to ward off illnesses.

“While cooking with your leftover pumpkin may be the obvious choice, there’s also an abundance of other recycling options from crafting to helping local wildlife. As a result, it is hard to find an excuse to simply bin yours.”

- Scott Hawthorne, Managing Director at


ARTICLE BY provide pay-as-you-go waste collection services for the UK. They work closely with a network of suppliers to remove the hassle of complicated contracts and provide services for a wide range of different types of waste.


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