Warning over harmful impact of dumping pumpkins after Halloween

Warning over harmful impact of dumping pumpkins after Halloween

The month of October is marked with spooky decorations depicting witches, zombies and skulls, and bright-orange pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.

Now that Halloween is just a few days away, we will start to move on from our autumnal, pumpkin-centred home decorations and begin thinking about Christmas pretty soon.

And you might find yourself wondering what you should do with your pumpkins after the festivities end.

Ahead of the spooky holiday, the Woodland Trust has issued an urgent plea asking the public to not dump pumpkins in woodland as it endangers wildlife.

The UK’s largest woodland conservation charity has dealt with an increasingly worrying trend of families leaving their pumpkins in the woods in recent years, in a misguided attempt to be sustainable and ecofriendly.

Explaining why this is happening, Woodland Trust’s engagement and communication officer Paul Bunton said: “A myth seems to have built up that leaving pumpkins in woods helps wildlife. People think they’re doing a good thing by not binning them in landfill and instead leaving them for nature.

Discarded pumpkins in the wild can harm animals, plants and fungi (Alan Bennett/ Tesco/ PA)
Discarded pumpkins in the wild can harm animals, plants and fungi (Alan Bennett/ Tesco/ PA)

“But pumpkin flesh can be dangerous for hedgehogs, attracts colonies of rats, and also has a really detrimental effect on woodland soils, plants, and fungi. We can’t leave dumped pumpkins to rot, so we end up with an orange mushy mess to deal with at many of our sites.”

There are numerous other things you can do with your pumpkin instead. For instance, we recently outlined 6 sustainable ways you can repurpose your pumpkin.

Whether you choose to make a soup with it, add it to your vegetable garden’s compost, create a bird feeder, or make a face mask out of it, the options are endless.

And, if you don’t have the time or resources to deal with your pumpkins, consider donating them to zoos, animal shelters, farms, or community gardens.

The experts here will be able to feed it to animals that can consume it or use it for compost.