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The Clark County Green Neighbors Program is coordinated by Clark County Public Health’s Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach to assist citizens with developing more sustainable lifestyles and building a strong environmental community in Clark County. Solid waste regional planning and programs are a cooperative effort of Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, and Yacolt.

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Sustainable Halloween Tips: Composting Pumpkins in Clark County

Child waving at window with Jack-o-Lantern

Are you wondering what to do with your leftover pumpkins after Halloween? Instead of throwing them away, compost them to reduce food waste and create nutrient-rich soil!

In Clark County, residents can place pumpkins in yard debris carts for composting. By composting pumpkins, you divert organic material from landfills and contribute to building a more sustainable and eco-friendly community in Clark County.

The Environmental Impact of Pumpkin Waste

Did you know that after Halloween about 60% of purchased pumpkins end up in landfills? When organic materials like pumpkins decompose in landfills, they produce methane gas, a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. By composting pumpkins, you create a controlled environment for decomposition, allowing beneficial microorganisms to break the pumpkins down into nutrient-rich compost.

Other Ways to Utilize Leftover Pumpkins

If composting pumpkins in your yard debris cart is not an option, there are alternative ways to utilize leftover pumpkins:

  • Backyard composting: If you don't have a curbside disposal option, the Composter Recycler program is an amazing resource to begin backyard composting. You don't need specialized equipment to get started, just a bit of knowledge! Visit the Composter Recycler website to learn more about how you can start composting your pumpkins in your own backyard, view recorded workshops and register online to attend free online composting education workshops.
  • Cooking: Uncarved pumpkins can remain edible for eight to 12 weeks after being picked. Explore various recipes to bake or cook with decorative pumpkins.
  • Wildlife feeding: Cut the pumpkin into pieces and leave them in natural areas to attract wildlife like raccoons, squirrels, and birds. Alternatively, offer the leftover pumpkin to local farms, where animals such as cows, pigs, horses, and goats will enjoy feasting on the crunchy pumpkin rinds.
  • Community compost programs: There are several local community compost hubs in Clark County that are eager to get more organic material for their bin. Heritage Farm on 78th street has an easy-to-find organics cart for residents to drop off their pumpkins and other food scraps. ShareWaste is another great resource to find community composters who want more compost for their gardens!

By responsibly composting or utilizing your pumpkins, you not only reduce waste but also contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious Clark County. Let's make the most of our pumpkins and create a greener future for our community! 

For more information and resources on sustainable Halloween practices, you can visit the Clark Green Schools website.

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