Halloween has arrived and you need to get rid of thousands of pumpkins within the next few days. Talk about Scary!
After Halloween, dispose of your pumpkins sustainably.
Every year, Americans throw away more than 1 billion pounds of pumpkins destined for landfills, where they decompose and produce methane gas that contributes to climate change. Michigan produces 79 million pounds of pumpkins each year, ranking him fourth in the nation.
Rather than tossing whole pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns in the trash, consider these alternatives to use them in a more sustainable way.
Here are 7 ways to get more out of your pumpkin/pumpkin parts.
- Bake to make pumpkin puree and use in baking, cooking, or in delicious smoothies.
- Make roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Donate pumpkins to feed animals. Check to see if your local municipality, farm, or zoo allows pumpkins to be used as animal food.
A sheep that ate a pumpkin fell into a collection area in Derry township. Courtesy of Derry Township.
- Throw away pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns at your local collection point and compost them. Check with your local government or university for special Halloween-related drop-off locations. Also, check out EGLE’s recycling directory, which lists locations where you can pick up your food waste. (Simply enter “food scraps” in the “What do you want to recycle?” field. Be sure to check the details and policies of the drop-off location before dropping off your jack-o-lanterns.)
- Look for a commercial garbage collection service that will collect pumpkins and other food scraps from your home and compost them. Food waste collection company My Greenmichigan was recently featured in an EGLE video.
- Simply place it in your garden or yard, surrounded by trees, and it becomes a delicious snack for wildlife.
- EGLE Compost Program Coordinator Aaron Hiday encourages Michiganders to compost their pumpkins if they have the space. “You can mix pumpkins and fall leaves in a box to make compost to nourish your soil next spring,” he says. EGLE’s handy guide “Home Composting: Reap a Heap of Benefits” provides helpful information, and this EGLE video of his has even more composting tips.
For more information about composting, visit Michigan.gov/EGLECompost. For more information about food recovery, visit Michigan.gov/FoodWaste.