Why and How to Compost your Pumpkins
Halloween can be a scary time - but the amount of waste is scariest of all!
About 1.9 billion pounds of pumpkins are grown each year in the US. The majority of them are carved and painted for Halloween.
But then a few days after Halloween they are thrown in the trash - around 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins end up in the landfill each year.
Talk about a SCARY amount of waste going into the landfill each year!
A lot of people think "oh well, it's organic - why is this a problem?"
In a landfill environment food and pumpkins are not able to properly break down and will release methane gas, a greenhouse gas more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
When your pumpkin is composted though, then it becomes nutrient goodness for your soil and gardens!
Every part of a pumpkin is compostable - skin, meat, stem, guts - all of it!
However, given that so many pumpkins are decorated, you might need to prepare your pumpkin first before throwing it into the compost pile. Halloween pumpkins are often decorate with glitter, stickers, and candles - these are all non-compostable items.
Prepare pumpkins for composting:
- Remove any non-compostable decorations and items from the pumpkin. Remove any remaining seeds as these are hard and might start sprouting pumpkins in your compost bin.
- Smash it, break it, go crazy! Splitting up a pumpkin into smaller pieces increases the surface area, which in turn helps microorganisms break it down more easily.
You’ll also need to add some dead leaves or shredded paper for carbon material. Shoot for a ratio of 3 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen - and keep your compost from drying out by adding moisture, and turn it regularly.