Let’s Talk Pumpkins!

WAYNE COUNTY, OHIO, Oct. 24, 2022 — The US Department of Energy estimates that 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins are thrown out after Halloween each year. When the holidays are over, and it is time to put the decorations away, where do all the pumpkins go? According to the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, pumpkins that end up in landfills create methane which can be 20 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide. Even though pumpkins naturally contain a good amount of water and are easily composted, not everyone can compost. So, what do you do with the pumpkins? Make sure the pumpkins do not have mold or signs of decomposition.

Ten Things To Do With the Pumpkins:

  1. Think local.  Many local animal care facilities, farms, or sanctuaries have drop-off events and use pumpkins to feed their animals.
  2. Compost without the pile.  Since pumpkins are so easy to compost, simply cut them into pieces and bury them in flower beds or around the yard.
  3. Plant it.  Fill the shell with dirt, add bushes, flowers, or saplings, then bury the entire pumpkin.  Pumpkins are a great fertilizer!
  4. Eat the seeds.  Choose your favorite spices or find a new recipe online and make a batch of pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack.
  5. Feed the seeds.  Remove as much goo as possible, spread the seeds flat to dry (with no seasonings or salt) then place them in the pumpkin shell to feed birds and squirrels in your yard.
  6. Don’t forget the dogs.  Pumpkin makes delicious and healthy treats for our canine friends.  Find an easy how-to video on making pumpkin puree, and a simple recipe for dog treats your pet will love.
  7. Grow your next pumpkin.  Cut the shell into slices or pieces and spread the seeds on top.  Plant them in your garden and grow your own holiday decorations next year.
  8. Pamper yourself.  Mix the pumpkin puree with honey, whole milk, or coconut oil to make an excellent facial treatment.  It is organic, and everyone needs a spa day once in a while.
  9. Enjoy the flavor.  Turn your pumpkin puree into bread, cookies, and other sweet treats using any of the dozens of free recipes on cooking websites.
  10. Skip the line.  One of the most loved Fall treats in Ohio is a steaming hot Pumpkin Spice Latte. Choose your favorite DIY recipe and pumpkin puree to enjoy it at home without waiting in line.

Pumpkins are so versatile that they still have many uses even when the holidays end. Include the kids, and it can also be the perfect time to create new Earth-friendly family traditions for years to come.

-Written by Sharon Paul, Master Recycler