Published date: 4 November 2015

3,500 unwanted pumpkins rescued in north London

North London Waste Authority (NLWA) has joined Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in his ‘war on waste’ this Halloween. NLWA rescued 3,500 unwanted pumpkins, which otherwise would have been left to rot in fields, and made sure that this year, the eating and composting of pumpkins were as much a part of Halloween as carving them.

Working with environmental charity Hubbub, NLWA ran the Pumpkin Rescue Festival, which involved 24 north London events and attracted 1,500 people. The Pumpkin Rescue Festival events, which ran from 26 October and end this Sunday 8 November, have been a huge success.

The 3,500 ‘rescued’ pumpkins were given to residents or cooked, more than 100 people attended cookery workshops, and there were more than 70 additional pop-up pumpkin events across north London.  

The Festival’s flagship event ‘the Pumpkin Party’, took place in the Angel Centre, Islington on Saturday, 31 October, where over 1,300 people gathered to celebrate the spooky staple and enjoy a free portion of pumpkin soup, bread (ingredients all donated or gleaned), recipe cards and useful reminders about rescuing pumpkins and reducing food waste. There were also plenty of spare pumpkins for people to ‘rescue’ for free, as well as face-painting, activities for children, a seaside-style photo board and food waste confessions booth.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Chair of NLWA said: 
“On average over a million pumpkins are purchased in the UK in the run up to Halloween – if we don’t reuse or recycle them, that’s a lot of food waste to potentially end up in landfill. We are delighted that so many people came to our events to celebrate the nation’s favourite spooky staple, helping to reduce this kind of unnecessary food waste”.

Around the Halloween period, two in five of us buy a pumpkin, carve it and then discard the insides. The pumpkin rescue events aimed to tackle potential pumpkin food waste and provide an opportunity for north London residents to have a chance to cook, taste and also learn about composting.


And, it’s not too late to take part! If you’ve still got your pumpkin, you’ve still got time to dispose of it at the following composting drop-off points:

  The final pumpkin cookery session takes places tomorrow, 5 November, in Enfield Town Library, where residents will have the opportunity to take part in a pumpkin ‘Bake- off’, making everything from cakes to hummus.

Leading the Pumpkin Rescue, Trewin Restorick, CEO/Founder of Hubbub said:   

“The huge increase in pumpkin festivals this year shows a fundamental shift in the way the UK is thinking about food waste and Halloween celebrations. The UK is slowly finding innovative ways to create tasty meals from food that would otherwise be thrown away – and London is leading the way.”