Why recycle and what to do with your pumpkin

Published: 03 November 2020

Why recycle and what to do with your pumpkin

Remember to recycle your pumpkins this Halloween.

Why recycle pumpkins?
Around 210,000 tonnes of household food waste ends up in landfill from across Wales, which contributes to the creation of methane, a poisonous greenhouse gas. When we recycle pumpkins, or any food in Blaenau Gwent, it is sent to an anaerobic digestion processing plant. Anaerobic digestion involves the natural breakdown of food into methane and carbon dioxide gas but instead of escaping into the atmosphere, these gases are used to generate electricity. This electricity can then be used to heat and power homes in the local community. It can also produce fertiliser which can be used in agriculture. For instance:

• One recycled pumpkin shell could generate enough energy to power a TV for three hours
• Recycling one pumpkin shell could generate enough energy to power a hairdryer for 13 minutes

Recycle your pumpkin
Don’t forget that after the Halloween festivities we can collect your pumpkin. Break your pumpkin up and put it in your food caddy or place the whole pumpkin next to the caddy. We will collect on your usual recycling day after Halloween.

What should I do with my pumpkins?
This Halloween, when carving your pumpkin, don’t throw the seeds in the centre away- recycle them or, even better, reduce your waste even more by making something delicious and healthy out of the insides, like this Spicy Pumpkin Soup.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup
Preparation time – 5 mins
Cooking time - 60 minutes
Serves 1

Half a pumpkin
1 sweet potato
1/2 red pepper
1½ cups (375 ml) of water
1 cup (250 ml) full fat milk
1 red chilli
Pinches of salt and pepper for seasoning

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
2. Remove the pumpkin flesh with a spoon, and peal the sweet potato.
3. Chop the pumpkin and sweet potato into 1 inch cubes.
4. Slice the red peppers and put all vegetables on a roasting tray, with a drizzle of oil.
5. Place in the oven to roast for 30-40 minutes, until soft.
6. Allow all the vegetables to cool a little.
7. Once cool enough to handle, add the pumpkin, sweet potato and peppers to a blender with the water, milk and diced chilli, and blend until smooth.
8. Pour into a saucepan and heat until piping hot, adding more water if you like a slightly thinner soup.
9. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chef’s tip: To give the soup a sweeter flavour, roast the pumpkin and sweet potato until they are dark and caramelised. It is important to allow the veg to cool before putting in the blender as the pressure of the steam could create a mess in the kitchen!

Use up: Use up some uncooked veg that you may have left over from another dish.

Variations: To make this a more balanced dish, you can serve with garlic croutons or a few slices of bread and butter. You can also vary the ingredients buy using butternut squash instead of, or as an addition to, the pumpkin!

Extra flavour: Adding your own mix of herbs and spices can really enhance this dish, such as coriander, cumin, oregano or fennel seeds.

Freezer advice: It is a fantastic idea to freeze portions of this soup, which allows you to have homemade soup on future occasions without the prep time!

Vegan options: To adapt this dish for vegans, replace the milk with vegetable stock or coconut milk, both of which will create different flavours.

Allergy advice: This versatile dish is easily adapted to avoid allergens and be suitable for most diets.