Sustainable America Blog

How to Compost a Halloween Pumpkin

jack o'lanterns

Photo Credit: Hourman via Compfight cc

It might be a stretch to think of pumpkins as food once they’re carved and lit and spooky. But just as many resources went into growing your toothy jack o’lantern as did your lunch—and it will produce just as much planet-wrecking methane as it rots. If you don’t want to be haunted by thoughts of your orange orbs contributing to the 40% of food we waste in this country, there are alternatives.

Some areas collect pumpkins with yard waste, others don’t. Check with your municipality first. Or, you can compost the pumpkins yourself—even if you don’t have a compost pile—using handy this guide from the Environmental Industry Association. (And if you’re doing the carving tonight, don’t forget to roast the seeds.)

RELATED ARTICLES
Seed to Skin: How to Eat an Entire Pumpkin
8 Ways to Take Action on Food Waste
How to Reduce Food Waste Like a Chef

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.


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