Pumpkin recycling

Every Halloween we see a lot of good rotting flesh go to waste. That’s right, pumpkins tossed into the trash.

A trash can and a sign and you’re good to go

In Arlington we’re not allowed to put pumpkins in with the yard waste, so they often go in the garbage. This costs the town more in “tipping fees,” a fee calculated by weight, not volume. Pumpkins are, of course, heavy.

So what if after the holiday, the neighborhood pumpkins all came to you for composting, perfect to mix with the fallen leaves? (Leaves are carbon-rich, or “browns”. Pumpkins are nitrogen-rich, or “green”. You need both for rich compost.)

This Halloween put up a sign telling visitors that after the holiday you’ll take their pumpkins, with certain limitations. You’ll be building great compost, saving the town money, and letting the kids know that their “used pumpkins” will replenish the yard or garden.

I made a very quick sign, as a sample or for use as-is: Pumpkin Recycling Station flyer.

UPDATE: I made a new Pumpkin recycling station flyer that is a bit clearer and NOT Arlington specific.

Smashing the pumpkins with a shovel or something else will help them decompose much faster and is highly recommended. You can even lay out a tarp and have neighborhood kids crush them (stomping, sticks, whatever) and serve cider, turning it into a neighborhood event, if you’re ambitious.

Send us photos of your haul and any celebrations!

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3 Responses to Pumpkin recycling

  1. Jennifer Tripp says:

    Hi there!

    Does the town have composting? Would be possible to bring the pumpkins there or have a pumpkin smashing event at the DPW yard?

    Just an idea…


  2. Jeremy says:

    Our town (Arlington, MA) collects yard waste but reasons I don’t know, will not accept pumpkins. Doing it at the DPW yard would cost the town money, money we don’t really have. The beauty of this solution, in my humble opinion, is that it costs the town nothing and in fact saves the town money by a number of people doing their part in their own neighborhoods.

    Will it dramatically reduce what the town pays? Probably not, but every little bit helps. In addition, it does reduce the amount of fuel required to transport the pumpkins (via garbage truck) and incinerating them – wet items require more fuel to first dry, then burn.

    And hey, you get good compost to boot!

  3. Melted Wine Bottles says:

    Love the post, I’m always looking for ideas about recycling

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