Pumpkin pitfalls: 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, SkipsAndBins.com have pulled together 5 ways you can reduce pumpkin waste this Halloween…

1. Drink it

Spiced pumpkin lattes are a firm favourite in the UK and has become a real luxury people anticipate in autumn and winter months. Pumpkin lattes are not only delicious but easy to whip together and are extremely nutritious. All you need to do is scoop the innards from your pumpkin and whip them up into a puree before adding in some extra ingredients for the spice. Mix your puree with coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger then add in your traditional latte and there you have it, a cosy warm autumnal treat.

If you are looking for something with a little more of a kick, why not try making some pumpkin cocktails. You can add pumpkin puree to many of your traditional favourites, such as an espresso martini or margarita. You can also add gin and Irish cream liqueur to an iced spiced pumpkin latte to create a cocktail twist.

2. Eat it

One of the most common ways to use the flesh from your pumpkin after carving it is to make a wholesome soup. By adding onion, carrot, cream, garlic and seasoning, a healthy meal can be made without too much hassle. This can be served hot or cold and is a popular dish during autumn months. 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.

Eating toasted pumpkin seeds as a healthy snack or to top of your soup dish is also a great way to assure nothing from the pumpkin is wasted. Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious, containing minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, and protein. They are also a good source of zinc and potassium which our bodies can lack during colder months.

3.Centrepiece it

If cooking is not your strong suit, there is also lots of great DIY craft projects you can use leftover pumpkins for. When Halloween comes to an end and your carved pumpkin has served its purpose, why not try decorating it for a stylish centrepiece. Spray painting your pumpkin before adding a candle or flower arrangement can look stylish and be the foundations for your autumn table.

4.Bury it

To make sure your pumpkin is definitely not ending up on a landfill site, bury it in your garden. Cut your pumpkin into small pieces and dig a shallow hole in the garden. Place small pieces of your pumpkin in the hole and let nature take its course. Over time the pumpkin will break down and enrich the soil, ultimately improving the health of the flowers and plants in your garden.

As well as the pumpkin itself, you can always bury the seeds and grow more! For best results, sow the pumpkin seeds indoors before transplanting outdoors to avoid the risk of frost. To do this, sow two seeds into a small pot by putting them on their sides and pushing into compost. Place the pots into a plastic bag until germination, before separating the two plants to allow them adequate room to grow. Continue growing them indoors and moving them into slightly bigger pots each time the roots fill the pot. Gradually acclimatise the plants to the outdoors before planting in your garden once frost has passed, ideally in late April. Once the pumpkins grow you will be ready for next Halloween!

5.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 SkipsAndBins.com

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