Pumpkin is, first and foremost, food. Well? Well, in the UK and the US, most pumpkins actually end up in landfills – right after October 31.
Of the nearly 2 billion pounds of pumpkin planted in the United States in 2014, an estimated 1.3 billion pounds was only thrown away rather than eaten or composted, according to the US Department of Energy. It seems that jack-o-lanterns consist of their special group of Halloween leftovers.
Beyond the vanity, the agency warns that, once they rot, these edible plants release methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
In a large scheme, smoke from rotten pumpkins forms a small portion of all human emissions, but it is worth considering – especially considering that these pumpkins require a lot of energy and water to grow, and then are not even eaten.
Last year, a study found that Britain alone contracted eight million pumpkins after Halloween, which was enough to make pies for the entire nation. Unlike Americans, the British do not really have a tradition of cooking with their Halloween decoration innards.
Only a third of Halloween pumpkin buyers in the UK bother to cook it, according to the annual #PumpkinRescue campaign.
In fact, a little more than half of pumpkin shoppers fail to eat or compost the food they pull from the jack-o-lantern shell, although other studies by the environmental charity Hubbub found that most consumers would be interested in recipes for leftovers.
This Halloween, Security reports that Britons are on track to dump record numbers of pumpkins, after apparently not learning anything in the past year.
"It's too easy for people to forget that Halloween pumpkins are still food," Tessa Tricks, head of the food program at Hubbub, told the newspaper.
"When they were only used for carving, this contributed to £ 15 [billion] food waste in British homes every year. "
To reduce this Halloween waste, it doesn't mean we have to give up our traditions too. There is an easy way to reduce the impact of your jack-o-lantern without losing any fun.
Using the yummier pumpkin type from traditional Halloween pumpkins, for example, makes cooking with leftovers much better, and it's easy to cook salads, soups, or even delicious classic cakes.
In addition, you can be sure to make compost from vegetable waste so that biomass can be recycled for nutrients, instead of traveling directly to landfills.
The world lives in an unprecedented time and compromise needs to be made. Halloween Pumpkin is just one small area of waste, but it is just another example of how easy changes in our lives can add a greater difference.