Record Numbers of Gloucestershire Schools Sign Up for the 2019 Pumpkin Recycling Project!


Gloucestershire schools have again rushed to take part in Andigestion’s annual Halloween Pumpkin Recycling Project as increasing numbers of teachers and children alike recognise the growing importance of food waste recycling.

So far, 18 primary schools across the county have signed up to take part in the initiative – a 50% increase over last year which according to Luke Crisford, Commercial & Logistics Executive at Andigestion, underlines the growing interest in sustainability and green issues.

Pupils are being encouraged to return their waste Halloween pumpkins to specially designated recycling points at each school – a move which both raises awareness of food waste recycling and helps reduce the amount of food that the county sends to landfill. Cheltenham-based Andigestion is also supporting schools with information leaflets for every pupil plus a pumpkin colouring competition for Key Stage 1 pupils, and a themed word search competition for Key Stage 2.

“An estimated 10 million pumpkins will be bought in the UK in the run up to Halloween,” adds Luke. “Of these, around 95% will be used to decorate gardens and doorsteps and while they look great on the night, they can then create a lot of waste which could potentially end up in landfill.

“We’ve been delighted with the response this year and hugely encouraged by the fact that so many schools see food waste recycling as a very relevant and topical issue to discuss with pupils. Food waste recycling is of course important all year round but Halloween is a great opportunity to help children understand what happens to their scraps and leftovers.”

The waste pumpkins will be processed at the company’s recycling plant in Bishops Cleeve near Cheltenham, which recycles up to 34,000 tonnes of Gloucestershire’s household and commercial food waste each year. Through its anaerobic digestion process, the plant contributes clean, green and eco-friendly energy to around 2,000 local homes by producing biomethane which is fed into the national grid. The by-product of the process – a mineral-rich, liquid fertiliser – is used by local farmers as a sustainable alternative to carbon-intensive chemical fertilisers.

“Not many people realise that the food waste from our plates contributes to the creation of such an environmentally-friendly and sustainable fuel!” says Luke. “Creating renewable energy from food waste instead of sending it to landfill is a positive and beneficial outcome for everyone.”

Dedicated ‘Pumpkin Recycling Points’ have also been set up at five different garden centres and farm shops across Gloucestershire to make it easier for households to recycle their pumpkins.

“Leftover pumpkins are of course a welcome addition to compost heaps or they can be left in household food waste caddies for collection by the council, but our recycling scheme is designed to help residents dispose of them easily in a really eco-friendly way,” adds Luke.

“Our special de-packaging machine means that even leftover pumpkins in plastic bags can be recycled making it a quick, easy, clean and eco-friendly end for all those petrifying pumpkins and spooky squashes!”