If your Halloween pumpkins are rotting on the porch, here are some zero-waste options and composting events to give them a second life and keep food waste out of the landfill.
Pumpkins make up a large part seasonal food waste between Halloween and Thanksgiving. According to the US Department of Energy, most of the 1.3-billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the U.S. end up in a landfill. They are often bought, left to wilt carved or uncarved, and then discarded to release methane gas in the landfill.
Here are some zero-waste ideas for using the pulp and seeds, composting the rind and having fun with your decaying gourds at local events:
Eat your pumpkin
If you haven’t carved your pumpkins, you can still cut them open and pull out the pulp for blending into pie filling or adding to soups and stews. It’s a messy job, but get the kids to help pull out the seeds. Then wash and dry them for adding to animal feeders or planting next year. Or just roast them now for a tasty snack. For the rind and leftovers, try these zero-waste ideas:
Compost at home
If you’ve got a compost bin or pile, cut up your pumpkins and throw them in. If you leave seeds in, you’ll likely have pumpkins growing in your compost bin next spring. If you don’t have a compost bin, find some helpful hints on setting one up at RecycleSpot.org.
Feed it to the animals at Pumpkin Smash
Some local farms with livestock will gladly take your pumpkins. Compost Collective KC and Urbavore Farms are hosting their annual Pumpkin Smash from 1 – 5 p.m., Saturday, November 5 at Urbavore Farms, 5500 Bennington Ave., Kansas City, MO.
This free, kid-friendly event is open to the public. Just take your pumpkins and have fun smashing them to feed to the farm animals. There will also be snacks, drinks, beer, games and prizes. Get more information a Compost Collective KC.
Drive through at Food Cycle KC Pumpkin Dropoff
Take your pumpkins, squash and gourds to be turned into compost at the Food Cycle KC Pumpkin Dropoff from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 5 at Shawnee City Hall, 11110 Johnson Drive, Shawnee, KS. The cost is $3 per vehicle. Get details at RecycleSpot.org.
Take them to a Pumpkin Collection
KC Can Compost will host Pumpkin Collection from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 5 at three locations. Find more information at KC Can Compost. There is a $5 fee for the first two pumpkins and $1 per additional pumpkin at these locations:
- Corinth Square, 83rd and Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS
- Lakeside Nature Center, 4701 E Gregory Blvd, Kansas City, MO
- KC Can Warehouse, 3119 Terrace St., Kansas City, MO
Head to the Pumpkin Takeback
Take your pumpkins to the Lee’s Summit Resource Recovery Park, 2101 SE Hamblen Road, Lee’s Summit, MO for free composting:
- 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Wednesday, November 2 to Friday, November 4
- 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Saturday, November 5
Learn more at Pumpkin Takeback.
Find nationwide food compost options
If you are looking for a composting service in other cities, check for available services in your area here:
Photo: Urbavore Urban Farm