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 them out of the landfill.
Pumpkins make up a large part seasonal food waste between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Most of the 1.3-billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the U.S. end up in a landfill, according to the US Department of Energy. They are often bought, left to wilt carved or uncarved, and then discarded to release methane gas in the landfill.
Pumpkin drop-off events include:
Kansas City, MO
On Saturday, November 4, KC Can Compost will be collecting pumpkins as part of the Great Pumpkin Rescue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations will be accepted of $3 for the first two pumpkins, and $1 per pumpkin for additional pumpkins to support the nonprofit. Locations include Ivanhoe Community Garden, 3700 Woodland Ave., Kansas City, MO and Kanbes Market, 3119 Terrace St. Kansas City, MO.
You can also turn your old pumpkins into new life with Urbavore Farm at Compost Collective’s free Pumpkin Smash Party on November 4. You can use the tool of your choice to get smashing and enjoy drinks from Big Rip Brewing Co. from 1 to 4 p.m. at Cultivate KC’s Westport Commons Farm, 300 E. 39th St., Kansas City, MO.
Boys Grow will be collecting pumpkins for free on Monday, November 6 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the parking lot at Broadway St. and W. 74th St. in Kansas City, MO. An additional collection will be held November 27 at the same location. You can also drop them by the farm during weekdays.
Kansas City, MO residents can also put pumpkins in their brown yard waste bags for scheduled leaf and brush collection days or to drop off at Missouri Organic Recycling locations. The locations with free Saturday drop-offs for residents include: 11660 N. Main St.,1815 N. Chouteau Trfy., and 10301 Raytown Rd.
Lee’s Summit, MO
The KC Dumpster Company is hosting the free, annual Pumpkin Takeback event Wednesday, November 1 through Friday, November 3 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, November 4 from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at KC Dumpster and Summit Transfer, 2011 SE Hamblen Rd., Lee’s Summit, MO.
KC Can Compost will be collecting pumpkins as part of the Great Pumpkin Rescue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the John Knox Village near 1001 NW Chipman Rd., Lee’s Summit, MO. Donations will be accepted of $3 for the first two pumpkins, and $1 per pumpkin for additional pumpkins to support the nonprofit.
From November 1–30, Lenexa residents can drop off pumpkins and other decorative gourds in a marked dumpster in the Little Mill Creek North Park parking lot, at 79th and Cottonwood.
Residents can put their pumpkins in their yard waste carts or paper yard waste bags for composting pickup by the City of Olathe.
Overland Park, KS
The Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens will be accepting pumpkins between November 1 through 22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 8909 W. 179th St., Overland Park, KS.
Pumpkins will also be collected at the Overland Park Farmers Market in downtown Overland Park on November 11 and 18.
KC Can Compost will be collecting pumpkins as part of the Great Pumpkin Rescue on November 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Platte Landing Dog Park, 300 S. Main St., Parkville, MO. Donations will be accepted of $3 for the first two pumpkins, and $1 per pumpkin for additional pumpkins to support the nonprofit.
Prairie Village, KS
KC Can Compost will be collecting pumpkins as part of the Great Pumpkin Rescue on November 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Corinth Shopping Center at the corner of 83rd and Mission Rd. in Prairie Village, KS. Donations will be accepted of $3 for the first two pumpkins, and $1 per pumpkin for additional pumpkins to support the nonprofit.
Pumpkins should be free of decorations like glitter, paint, or other plastic, non-organic applications.
If you are looking for a composting service in other cities, you can contact your city directly to see if they will accept pumpkins as part of your yard waste service.
Other zero-waste ideas
Beyond drop-off events, you can compost pumpkins in your own backyard. Fall is a great time to start a compost pile to give a second life to all of those falling leaves.
For the more gently used pumpkins, you can still scrape out the insides to make roasted pumpkin seeds or enjoy the squash in a soup or stew if you purchased an edible variety.
You can also let them rot in your backyard for local wildlife to enjoy.
Do you know of other pumpkin drop-off locations around the metro? Let us know in the comments!