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Wilful Waste Makes Woeful Want

Old Scots proverb rings true as Scots throw out woeful 1.1 million pumpkins at Halloween.

23 Oct 18

Research shows that out of the 1.8 million pumpkins carved in Scotland a year, a frightening 1.1 million are thrown away. That’s why Zero Waste Scotland, with support from The Real Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh’s social history visitor experience, is urging Scots to save their pumpkins by turning devilish decorations into sumptuous scran this Halloween.

The old Scottish proverb ‘wilful waste makes woeful want’ still rings true today.  As Halloween draws near, Scots are heading out to buy their pumpkins, but the scary fact is that enough will be wasted to stretch from Edinburgh to Stornoway.

Polling reveals that over half of respondents say they had never thought of a Halloween pumpkin as food (1). But fear not, the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, from Zero Waste Scotland, has the recipes to make pumpkin waste a thing of the past.

Ylva Haglund, Food Waste Campaigns Manager, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Everybody loves to make the most of Halloween, but this also means an ever-larger mountain of food waste each year. This is especially worrying given those in woeful want of food, so we aim to inspire people to turn their pumpkins into a delicious meal or snack. If pumpkin treats aren’t your style, then simply check with your local recycling service or turn your food waste into compost.

“We also know that the fight for climate change begins at home, as our Carbon Metric report shows, food waste contributes more to Scotland’s waste carbon impacts than other type of waste. It’s so important to avoid just chucking away perfectly edible food.”

Eilidh Macleod, Marketing Manager, The Real Mary King’s Close, said:

“Such wilful waste of a perfectly good pumpkin probably would have seemed quite shocking to the inhabitants of the closes and wynds of Edinburgh in the seventeenth century. During a time of severe food shortage, pumpkins were far more likely to have been enjoyed as a savoury pumpkin pie or made into pumpkin beer.

“Indeed, the sage advice offered by the proverb ‘wilful waste makes woeful want’ would have taken on great importance, even for a fairly well-to-do family, like that of one of Edinburgh’s most famous daughters, Mary King. One can only wonder what Mary King and her neighbours would make of carving faces into pumpkins and simply discarding the remains.”

There are so many delicious ways to make the most of your pumpkins once the Halloween party ends. Love Food Hate Waste has some delicious pumpkin recipe suggestions to try, including:

Go to the Love Food Hate Waste website and use #PumpkinRescue on social to find out how to transform your pumpkins and cut down on food waste.

According to Hubbub’s Pumpkin Rescue campaign, 18,000 tonnes of edible pumpkins end up in bins each year in the UK.


Notes For Editors

  1. Source: Based on UK polling in September 2016 by environmental charity Hubbub and Unilever, with a sample of 2,003 people, scaled to Scotland on a per capita basis by Zero Waste Scotland.
  • Food waste facts - Commonly wasted foods in Scotland include fruit, vegetables, bread, dairy and meat and fish. Meat and fish are the most expensive items wasted, with £130 million worth thrown out each year. Veg and salad accounts for £150 million worth of food thrown out as waste each year, while fresh fruit accounts for £79 million. Wasted bread amounts to £49 million a year with over 2 million slices of bread being binned each day, while £26 million worth of milk is poured down the sink per year.
  • Imagine a warren of streets frozen in time, where centuries of stories are waiting to be told. The Real Mary King’s Close brings Edinburgh’s hidden history to life. Accompanied by a costumed character guide, guests embark on a one hour social history tour through a warren of uniquely preserved streets and spaces. Website: www.realmarykingsclose.com
  • The Real Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh is running Halloween tours throughout October to take visitors back in time to the infamous witch trials. Visitors will learn how Mary King’s Close residents were implicated, and the fate that befell them.
  • Zero Waste Scotland exists to create a society where resources are valued and nothing is wasted. Our goal is to help Scotland realise the economic, environmental and social benefits of making best use of the world’s limited natural resources. We are funded to support delivery of the Scottish Government’s circular economy strategy and the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit the website or follow @scotgovESIF.
  • More information on all Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes can be found at www.zerowastescotland.org.uk. You can also keep up to date with the latest from Zero Waste Scotland though via our social media channels - Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
  • More information on Love Food Hate Waste, delivered in Scotland by Zero Waste Scotland can be found at https://scotland.lovefoodhatewaste.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/lovefoodhatewastescotland
  • You can also keep up to date with the latest from Zero Waste Scotland though via our social media channels - Twitter | Facebook | Google Plus | LinkedIn


For media enquiries contact:

Sophie Thirkell, PR Officer, Zero Waste Scotland  

Mobile: 07966 284095


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