Composting your Halloween pumpkin

NOW: Composting your Halloween pumpkin

BENTON HARBOR, Mich.,--Jack-o-lanterns may not be the scariest decoration, but they have a haunting statistic. Each year, more than 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins end up in landfills.

Pumpkins are one of the most recognizable and most-used decorations each Halloween, but when pumpkins head to landfills, co-owners of Turtle Ridge Compost, Amanda Leichliter Glowacki and Cindy Leichliter the pumpkins are not being used to their full potential.

“Sometimes the misconception around compost is ‘well wouldn’t it just decompose in the landfill?’ and unfortunately, because there’s so many other things there, you don’t get the ingredient base that you need, so it doesn’t decompose in the way so it creates more nitrogen gas in the air," said Leichliter Glowacki.

Composting creates nutrient-rich soil for gardens and houseplants and is an environmentally friendly way to dispose of your pumpkins. Anything that grows from the ground--vegetables, seeds and spices can be composted. Composting mixes carbon, nitrogen, air and water to turn your veggies into soil.

"Everyone wants to save the world, save the environment and this is how they can do it. So that nutrient-rich compost allows them to say ‘we took all of this that would’ve gone into the landfill and look guys, we made this," said Leichliter.

First, scoop out the seeds and then crack it open and cut it into smaller pieces. The smaller the pieces, the quicker the compost process. You can roast the pumpkin seeds for a snack and take the smaller pieces to your fall bed, cleaned of plants for the year with a soil base, dig into your soil, place your pumpkin pieces in the bed and they will decompose. The speed of the process is dependent on the amount of sunlight. Then cover it with leaves --providing a carbon source.

if you cannot compost at home, contact your local township or waste service to see if it offers composting options.

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