an old pumpkin, smashed and broken

How to Properly Dispose of Old Pumpkins

Compost, reuse, or discard in trash

What’s something that’s really spooky?  The fact that 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins end up in landfills each year! When pumpkins rot in landfills they emit methane (CH4), a gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2).  Instead of contributing more waste to the landfill, there are many alternatives that allow your pumpkins to benefit the earth long after Halloween. 

If your pumpkin is uncarved, you can scoop out the pulp to make a pie or roast the seeds for a nutritious snack. You can then use the hollow gourd as a biodegradable pot by filling it with soil and a plant. Some farmers accept uncarved pumpkins as treats for their pigs; check out Pumpkins for Pigs to see what farm near you accepts them. 

Jack-o-lanterns make excellent additions to your home compost, but be sure to remove any candle wax, paint, or glitter that won't degrade. If you do not have a home compost, you can bring your pumpkins to Smash Don’t Trash, an event hosted by Toward Zero Waste and Compost Now on November 4th at the Midtown Farmers Market. From 8 a.m. to noon, they will be providing additional compost bins to collect your post-Halloween pumpkins. Instead of rotting in a landfill, your pumpkins will help create nutrient-rich compost. 

Lead Department:
Solid Waste Services