In Oxfordshire, food waste still accounts for 20% of all waste going into household rubbish bins although it could have been easily recycled.
Councillor Norman MacRae, Cabinet Member for Waste at West Oxfordshire District Council said:
“While West Oxfordshire residents have a high rate of recycling, it is believed that each household in the county will dispose of 120kgs of food that could have been eaten each year. With Halloween celebrations taking place in just a few days, we want to encourage everyone to use up their pumpkins once the festivities are over to cut down on unnecessary food waste.
“When food goes unused, all the energy invested in its production, throughout the supply chain, is wasted. COP26 is bringing together world leaders to discuss actions which can be taken to slow down climate change, but there are positive steps we can be taking to help right here at home to help our planet. With 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions due to food production, making sure we only buy what we need and making the most of any leftovers has never been more vital.”
Some food waste - such as vegetable peelings, bones and eggshells - is unavoidable but can still bring carbon benefits by creating renewable energy if recycled using the District Council’s weekly food waste service.
West Oxfordshire’s food waste is transported to a local anaerobic digestion facility in Cassington. Once treated, a biogas is created, which is used to produce electricity for the grid to power homes; any residual liquid is used as fertiliser, putting essential nutrients back in the ground so the growing cycle can start all over again.
Residents wishing to recycle their Jack o’ lanterns are reminded to reduce larger pumpkins so that they fit inside the food waste caddy, removing any tea lights and wax first. Home composting is an even better option when it comes to the environment, helping save on transport miles and emissions.
Householders who need a food waste caddy can pick one up from the town centre shop in Welch way or by ordering online at www.westoxon.gov.uk.
For those in need of inspiration on how to use up their leftover pumpkin, the national Love Food Hate Waste campaign has plenty of recipes as well as food storage tips to help food last for longer. Visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for more information.