Dispose of your Pumpkins Sustainably
Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere! Fall is known for its plethora of pumpkin themed treats, from the classic pumpkin spice latte to chocolate chip pumpkin muffins; it feels like they are included in just about everything! Pumpkins are also a beloved autumnal decoration, often on display next to front doorsteps and in windows. Showing off creatively carved pumpkin faces can put a smile upon observers' faces. But when it is time to part ways with your pumpkins, we encourage you to continue pursuing creativity by disposing of them in an eco-friendly way.
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy estimated that out of the 1.9 billion pounds of pumpkins grown, 1.3 billion pounds were thrown away, instead of being consumed or composted. This unnecessary waste contributes to the greenhouse gasses emitted from our landfills. Halloween should be spooky, but not because of the waste produced.
There are many methods to sustainably dispose of pumpkins, so don't let yours end up in the landfill! Here are four suggestions we have for you.
1. Eat what you can!
If you haven't carved your pumpkin yet, you can find endless recipes online for how to consume your pumpkin, from the seeds to the skin!
Roasted pumpkin seeds are a healthy and yummy snack. They can be eaten by themselves, or within trail mix and salads! Peeled pumpkin skin can be dehydrated, and eaten as a simple pumpkin chip snack.
You can puree the pumpkin flesh, to include in sweet or savory dishes. Some recipe ideas include a classic pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin lasagna, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin hummus. There are so many options to try!
If you do not want to eat the pumpkin puree, it is full of nutrients and vitamins, which is ideal for creating a DIY natural face mask.
2. Feed them to animals.
Consider sharing your pumpkins with animals. Be sure to do this when the pumpkin is still fresh, and has not started to mold.
Chickens are known to enjoy eating pumpkins. If you, or a neighbor, have chickens, you could consider adding pumpkins to their feed! Some local farms and zoos also accept pumpkin donations to feed to their animals.
If you cut up pieces of your pumpkin and place them in your yard, backyard wildlife will feast on this fall treat. Be sure to place the pumpkin sections far from your house and garden to keep a safe distance from wildlife. You can also dry out pumpkin seeds and add them to your bird feeders.
3. Place them in your backyard compost pile.
If your carved pumpkin has been sitting out for a while, and has begun to decompose, composting may be the best option for you. You can recycle your pumpkins' nutrients back to the earth by composting them!
Remove any candles, wax, or other non-organic materials in the pumpkin. Remove seeds as well, unless you want pumpkins to randomly grow in your compost pile and garden next year. The rate of decomposition will increase if your pumpkins are broken into smaller pieces. You can do this by either cutting your pumpkins carefully with a knife, or by smashing it. This can also release built up tension!
If you do not have a backyard composting bin, but still want to create nutrient-rich soil for your garden, you can bury the pieces within your garden.
4. Place them into your yard debris cart.
In Clark County, pumpkins are accepted for curbside collection when placed within yard debris carts, except in Camas and Washougal.