Growing up my elementary school had an annual pumpkin carving contest. I always wanted to win scariest pumpkin, I tried carving scary faces, a Halloween cat, monsters etc. As it turns out the scariest thing about our Jack-o-lanterns is what happens to them after Halloween.
Let’s look at some facts:
-Every year 1.3 Billion pounds of pumpkins grown in the US end up in landfills
-Organic waste (like pumpkins) left in landfills release methane gas, which has 20 times the warming effect of other common greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.
So this year I challenge you to use your pumpkin in a sustainable way!
I am no cook but anyone can bake pumpkin seeds. While you’re carving set the seeds aside and bake them at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes. Then you’ll have a tasty and healthy snack. All October long people are crazy for pumpkin flavored everything! Use your pumpkin to make soup, bread, or pie. Couple of tips: hold off on carving until the day before or day of Halloween, and don’t let your pumpkin sit around for days and rot.
If pumpkin baked goods are not your thing you can still compost it or feed it to wild life. Growing up we always tossed our pumpkins in the far corner of the yard for the squirrels. Live in the city and don’t have a yard? Check out composting programs for city dwellers. Here is my favorite in Boston but there a tons of different programs that help you compost in your apartment or community gardens often have composts! There are so many alternatives to throwing your pumpkin in the trash. Living sustainably is about making all those small choices that add up to big change. I hope everyone has a Happy and Sustainable Halloween!