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    Essential services to help keep your school running smoothly.

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    Everything you need for your school meals and catering requirements.

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Where did Halloween originate?

Halloween is one of the many celebrations that we enjoy each year and is commonly known for children dressing up in spooky masks and costumes ready to go trick or treating every evening on the 31st of October. It is also the eve of All Saints’ Day and is thought to be associated with the Celtic festival ‘Samhain’, marked as the beginning of winter – a superstitious time where spirits were set free.

Why are pumpkins associated with Halloween?

Pumpkins are also a huge factor of Halloween, and we often carve scary faces and drawings onto them to scare away evil spirits, but we commonly use them as decorations. They are a symbol of Halloween as they are linked to rebirth fertility, harvests and crops and the tradition of carving pumpkins for Halloween originally comes from Eastern France and Ireland where they celebrated the memory of lost souls and the legend of Jack O’Lantern.

The term Jack O’Lantern came from the 19th century and was used to describe a lantern made from a hollowed-out pumpkin/vegetable. It was also thought to be associated with the ghostly figure or wondering soul known as ‘Jack O’Lantern’ or ‘Stingy Jack’ that preyed upon unsuspecting travellers, so people would carve these with scary faces and place them on their doorsteps to frighten his evil spirit away. The term Jack O’Lantern is also used to describe unfamiliar men – mostly night watchmen, who were commonly referred to as ‘Jack’ if people didn’t know their names.

Pumpkins and food waste

Although pumpkins (Or Jack O’Lanterns as they are often called) are fun to carve and look appealing as part of our spooky décor, research has shown that the increase of food wastage due to pumpkins is on the rise and discovered the below interesting fact: Did you know, according to Greener Kirkaldy, pumpkins cause 18,000 tonnes of waste after Halloween each year, which is the equivalent to 1500 double-decker buses in weight or enough to make a bowl of soup for every person in the UK?

How can pumpkin waste be reduced?

Feed them to animals

A great way to get rid of used pumpkins after Halloween is to give them to animals to eat. One easy way of doing this is by leaving the pumpkin in a shaded part of your garden or outdoor space, leaving it out for wildlife to eat. Just make sure you don’t leave any painted pumpkins out as this can be toxic to animals! Another great way to dispose of pumpkins for animals is by asking your local farms if they would like to take them for livestock, such as sheep and goats. Make sure to check with the farm before feeding any animals!

Throw them into your compost bin

One of the best ways to dispose of not only pumpkins, but a whole range of food waste and garden waste, is to put them into your compost bin either at home or your workplace, if they have one. Compost bins are a great way to break down food waste, which then allows you to use the compost to add to garden soil and plants, working as a great alternative to mulch and potting soil.

Create a bird feeder

An easy way to dispose of pumpkin seeds is to put them into your birdfeeder, as pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious for birds. Either place them into an existing birdfeeder, or reuse an old plastic bottle to create a birdfeeder!

Use your pumpkin in recipes

To help you avoid contributing to the 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin waste, a fantastic way to use your Halloween pumpkins is by using them for cooking and baking. For example, BBC Good Food have a great section on their website which lists a whole array of recipes specifically for using up your leftover pumpkins! Pumpkin carving and decorating can definitely bring people together, but we believe that cooking to reduce food wastage can also!

How can YPO help?

YPO have numerous frameworks to help with both lessening food waste, as well as food waste disposal. YPO’s very popular UK Food Deal can be used for the supply and delivery of various food service categories direct to YPO customers throughout the public sector.

YPO also have frameworks dedicated to food waste management, being devised to support local authorities on their journey to improve food waste separation and reduce landfill emissions.

The YPO Framework Team are on hand to provide free of charge support to customers throughout the process, to help to ensure they receive a fantastic service and great prices.

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The YPO Food Frameworks Team