Let’s Squash Pumpkin Waste from Warwickshire Recycles

In this edition…
  • Pumpkin waste
  • Grow your own pumpkin
  • How to carve a turnip
  • A quick history of Halloween
  • How to eat a pumpkin
  • Pumpkin recipes
  • How to compost a pumpkin at home
Pumpkin waste

Here is a list of the top ways to ensure your Halloween is glowing green this year:

1. Don’t carve a pumpkin at all, if you aren’t planning to eat it.  It’s the top answer for being environmentally friendly but won’t be the most popular as carving a pumpkin is now firmly part of the Halloween culture in the UK.

2. Buy a vegetable you are more likely to eat.  Turnips are the traditional vegetable for carving at Halloween in the UK, but are quite difficult to carve.  Why not try a butternut squash which is just as nutritious, doesn’t require as much water as a pumpkin when grown and is cheaper to buy?

3.  If you buy a pumpkin, eat the flesh. Hollow out the pumpkin as much as possible to create a thin shell – this will help the pumpkin glow more brightly and you will have more flesh to eat.  Don’t forget to eat the seeds too.  The health benefits of eating pumpkins are listed below and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for pumpkin recipes.

4.  Use as a food caddy.  Once the pumpkin has done its job and scared away any bad spirits, use it as a temporary caddy to collect food scraps ready for composting.  You can compost a pumpkin at home with or without a compost bin – see ‘Compost Your Pumpkin’ below for more details.

5.  Use the food waste collection.  Simply place it in the green wheeled bin ready to be composted at an Invessel Composter (IVC) in Warwickshire.  Click here for a video of how the IVC works.

6.  Please don’t buy a plastic pumpkin.  Plastic pumpkins don’t biodegrade or compost down and are a waste of precious resources.  Watch this video by Half Asleep Chris to find out why single-use plastics are such a waste of resources.

Grow your own pumpkin for 2023
Pumpkins are very easy to grow even if you aren’t very green fingered.  Here is our guide.

1. Get some seeds.  You can buy them from the shops or if you have a pumpkin this year you can use the ones inside the pumpkin.  Simply rinse off any flesh and spread out in a warm dry area (baking sheets are ideal) to ensure they dry out.  Any flesh left on the seeds will rot them.

2.  Seeds can be sown indoors or outdoors.  Sow seeds indoors in 7.5cm (3in) pots from mid- to late April. Sow the flat seeds on their side, 1cm (½in) deep, and keep at 18–21°C (65–70°F). (RHS)  To help keep the temperature steady, place a plastic bag over the plastic pot like an incubator and secure it with string or an elastic band.

You can also sow seeds directly outdoors where you want your plants to grow. Sow two or three seeds per planting hole, 3cm (1in) deep, in late May or early June. Cover with cloches, jars or plastic sheeting. Leave this in place for two weeks, or as long as possible, after germination. Thin the seedlings, leaving only the strongest one to grown on. (RHS)

4.  When the frosts have passed, generally in early June, plant out indoor sown seedlings about 6ft apart as they grow really big.

5.  If you want really big pumpkins you will need to water them.  To help with watering place a large yoghurt pot or plastic milk bottle with the bottom cut out next to the plant.  Once the plant is fully grown it can be difficult to find the root ball underneath all the leaves and this trick helps concentrate the water in the right spot.  However, once the plant is up and running it isn’t totally necessary to water, it will just mean the pumpkin will be allowed to grow even bigger.

6.  Large varieties of pumpkin include Atlantis and Sumo, while those noted for their flavour are the smaller Sweet Dumpling and Crown Prince Squash.

How to carve a turnip
Watch this English Heritage video on how to carve a turnip.
A Quick History of Halloween
How to eat a pumpkin

Pumpkin flesh and seeds are tasty and packed full of vitamins and minerals.

  1. Pumpkin is a great source of potassium and beta-carotene, which is a carotenoid that converts to vitamin A. It also contains some minerals including calcium and magnesium, as well as vitamins EC and some B vitamins.
  2. Pumpkin seeds may be small but they are mighty in the nutrients department.  Just like nuts, pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein and unsaturated fats, including omega-3. They also contain a good range of nutrients including iron, selenium, calcium, B vitamins and beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, zinc and magnesium. (Source: BBC Good Food)  Seeds can be soaked in salt water to remove the skins and then roasted in the oven for a healthy snack.

Anything that can’t be eaten such as the hard skin and stem, should be composted at home or placed in the food waste recycling.

Pumpkins are too good to be thrown away and they are nutritious and versatile.  Find out more from Hubbub and follow us on Facebook and Twitterfor tips and recipes.

Pumpkin skin crisps
You can eat the skin of pumpkins. In fact a lot of dishes like these pumpkin wedges are even better with the skin left on. But if your recipe dictates and you need to take the peeler to that pumpkin, make these delicious crisps.


  • Peel from a pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons of oil (vegetable or toasted sesame)
  • A generous pinch of sea salt
  • Optional a pinch of paprika, cumin seeds and/ or chilli flakes


  1. Preheat your oven to 160 celsius.
  2. Put your pumpkin peelings skin side down on a baking tray and cook for 8 minutes, until dry.
  3. Very lightly coat the peelings with oil and sprinkle with salt and a pinch of spice if you like.
  4. Put them back on the baking tray and roast for 10 minutes or until crispy and lightly browned.

Source:  Hubbub

How to compost a pumpkin at home

There are two ways to compost your pumpkin at home – with and without a bin.  Pumpkins are 100% biodegradable which will happen pretty quickly wherever you leave it.  However, a large decaying berry (yes, it is actually a berry) isn’t great to have hanging around so here are our tips for composting it.

Without a compost bin

  1. Smash the pumpkin into pieces or use a spade to chop it up.
  2. Find a shady spot in your garden and dig a hole big enough to fit the pieces.
  3. Place pumpkin into the hole and cover with soil.  Nature will now take over and rot it down nicely, fertilising the soil.

With a compost bin

  1. Smash up the pumpkin or use a spade to chop it up.
  2. Place the pumpkin pieces in the bin.
  3. The pumpkin has a high water content so you will need to balance this out with some dry materials.  Leaves are great and might be plentiful but if you are without leaves you can substitute with cardboard, egg boxes or scrunched up newspaper.
  4. Let nature do its work and rot the pumpkin down to some great home compost to be used in the Spring.

Tip:  Why not use your pumpkin as a temporary kitchen caddy for food waste?  Leave it at the back door and add food waste when you have it.