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Top 4 Eco-Friendly Ways to Dispose of Your Pumpkin

Pumpkins and squash are undeniably the most popular elements of fall décor, but what do you do with them when its time to move on to the next season’s embellishments? It is estimated that 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkin end up in landfills across the U.S after Halloween each year. That’s a pretty scary statistic, considering that food waste in landfills turns into methane gas (which is 28-36 times more dangerous than CO2). When it comes to the environment, the best ideas come from nature (as usual!). So today we thought we would share the best tips for disposing of your pumpkins without harming the planet!

Carved pumpkin jack o lanterns with lights

If your pumpkin has already been carved and is exposed to the elements, odds are, it’s probably disintegrating into a flattened rendition of itself as you read this. Not to worry…there are plenty of things you can do with a pumpkin that is past its prime!

Compost it. Food waste in general is better off composted. For things like leftover fruits and veggies (and even some other things like coffee/tea and hair), you don’t need outdoor space to do it! You can bury it under the soil in a planter or pot, and if you have outdoor space you can bury it anywhere there is soil. Your plants will love it, and because these leftovers are buried under the soil, they will naturally decompost without any smell! If you live in a home with little to no outdoor space and are interested in composting more of your food waste, check to see if there a municipal program in your area. If not, check for companies in your area that will take and compost it for you.  If you’re feeling really jazzed about the idea, you can even talk to your city hall representatives to see what the process would be for setting up a program in your area. 

Pig eating in grass in a field

Donate it. If your carved pumpkin is still in decent condition, call your local farm, zoo, or sanctuary and ask if they would like some pumpkins to give to the animals for their Halloween treat. You can also break it into pieces and take it to a nature reserve to scatter for the animals there. 

Eat it. Pumpkin is great for our health! Not only does it add plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber to our diet, it also has a reputation for helping with digestive issues. Even Rover and Mittens would benefit from a couple bites of it now and again. Un-carved pumpkins remain good to eat for several weeks, so as long as it’s still good, cut that orb open, scoop out the guts and seeds, and bake. When it’s ready, you can scoop out the pulp and use it for any number of healthy recipes. Breads, pies, hummus, drinks…there is no limit to what you can use it for (check Pinterest for inspiration)! Throw excess into the freezer and use the guts in your next homemade broth. If pumpkin is not in your flavor repertoire, you can donate full, un-carved pumpkins to charities or food pantries to make food out of.

Various baked goods made from pumpkin

Toast the seeds. If you’ve never eaten toasted pumpkin seeds, you’re missing out! After rinsing off the goop, pat dry and toss in olive oil with your favorite spices (you can get really creative here!). Once they are toasted, you can use them to top salads, soups, or just munch on as a snack. Pumpkin seeds, much like pumpkin pulp, are full of heart protecting vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, and fiber. 

Pumpkin patch farm at sunrise


What will you do with your pumpkin? Rules say you have to share photos if you make anything delicious :)

- Love the Earth Co.

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