How to compost pumpkins after the holidays

2022-11-01

2 minutes, 9 seconds read

How to compost pumpkins after the holidays

While carving pumpkins is an age old tradition, proper disposal of the waste is a new lesson to be learned. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1.3 billion lb of pumpkins are tossed after October 31st and end up in US landfills every year. This extra organic waste unfortunately results in some of the largest contributions to methane emissions. When organic waste decomposes, it results in methane gas which is 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period.

The negative impact of organic waste is astronomical due to compounding landfill contributions from most households, but the effects can be mitigated by taking a proper, local approach to the disposal of pumpkin. We share the best ways to prepare your pumpkins for the holidays and composting in this blog.

Preparation

Most parts of the pumpkin can be used in cooking or for consumption. Seeds can be placed in an airfryer or oven for a crisp taste while the pumpkin flesh can be used in puree or in pumpkin bread. Utilizing every part of the pumpkin ultimately results in less waste being produced.

Preservation

We highly recommend that a 10:1 water to vinegar bath mixture is used to preserve the pumpkin shells. Vinegar acts as a natural preservative that allows the pumpkins to be composted without issue. Organic waste cannot be composted if bleach is used. 

If you do not wish to apply any preservation methods, we recommend that the pumpkins are stored in a cool, dry area with low exposure to sunlight to prevent mold from settling in.

Disposal

When you no longer have use for the pumpkins, we recommend smashing the pumpkins and placing the remainders in a bucket. The outer shell of a pumpkin is tough and harder to naturally decompose.

We do not recommend using a plastic garbage bag as the pumpkin waste may be too heavy. California residents can find a local composting facility that will accept their pumpkin waste here.

Most composting facilities are not free and will typically charge based on volume and weight. Although many municipalities provide special residential compost bins for organic waste, by the time it is picked up the waste may already have entered the decomposition stage. It is better to be proactive with the disposal of organic waste to avoid dealing with mold and potential odor issues.

Power Knot headquarters in Fremont, CA is conditionally accepting pumpkin waste from residents and businesses in the Bay Area. If you are interested in learning more about how you can facilitate organic waste management onsite at your facility, contact us today.