The U.S. grows and sells 1 billion pumpkins each year. When thrown into the trash they go into a landfill where they emit an enormous amount of methane gas - a potent greenhouse gas.
Composting is an excellent option, as it allows pumpkins to decompose naturally, enriching the soil and reducing methane emissions.
The National Wildlife Federation recommends cutting it up into pieces and leaving it in a composting area in your yard that animals cannot access. Covering with leaves helps the nutrients to soak into the soil.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife also has a page on how to dispose of pumpkins here.
Donate pumpkins to ranches - local ranches will take pumpkins as animal feed. However, if there is paint or wax on the pumpkin, the ranches won’t take it because it’s toxic to the animals. Try Peachy Farms in Parker for this.
Also - Nextdoor has several local people wanting pumpkins for their goats. Search Nextdoor for Theresa Garcia in Elizabeth (willing to pick up), Alexis S. on London Dr., Karen Cranham also on London Dr., Renae Friedrichs (London Dr.) or Veronica Bartlett in Little Parker.
- Leave out your pumpkin for wildlife or feed it to wildlife
Though some people create “snack-o’-lanterns” to feed critters such as birds and squirrels, be aware that leaving your pumpkin out can attract unwanted wildlife as well. Bears are especially attracted to pumpkins as they are looking to add on a few more pounds before the winter season.
Use these tips to sustainably dispose of your pumpkin, but keep in mind that with Thanksgiving right around the corner, pumpkin pie is also a good option.
By being mindful of how we handle pumpkins after use, we can help reduce the environmental impact of this seasonal fruit.