By GANAPATHYSUBRAMANIAN GOPINATHAN
Pumpkins bought, used on Halloween and thrown out.
I am from India, where we do have regular use of pumpkins for our normal household cooking.
We even take out the seeds, dry them in the sun with some ash mix and then get the seeds opened and even consume the white portion inside. Thus there is almost zero waste of pumpkins as such in India.
This year I happened to be in the USA and have for the first time witnessed the quantum and variety of pumpkins being marketed, purchased, used for Halloween and thrown out.
A cursory browsing on the Internet shows there was a total production of:
Total: 1014,430,000 (ie 1,014 million pounds)
The indicated consumption of pumpkins purely for Halloween was 148 million people using an average of a 3 lb. pumpkin each. If that is taken as the base, and based on the average indicated per pound price of a pumpkin during Halloween at $ 1.48 per pound, then the US spends at least $657 million worth of pumpkins and then throws them as trash after Halloween.
While the enjoyment and happiness of celebrating Halloween can never be belittled, questioned or ignored as quantified in terms of dollars nor termed as unwanted, is it not high time that the US public ponder over this issue of the wasting of a food product to the extent of $657 million while many countries are struggling to the source for basic food itself.
This indicative waste is over and above the reported food waste by the USA to the extent of at least $408 billion per annum by way of thrown away food.