This Halloween, after all of your ghosts and goblins have tricked for their last treat, compost your jack-o-lanterns instead of throwing them out in the garbage. Composting is just one of the ways Waste Management wants to remind customers to Think Green® by adopting eco-friendly habits this holiday season.
It is estimated that up to one-third of household garbage is organic waste from yards and kitchens, which is just the type of material used for composting. Pumpkins and yard trimmings can be reused as fertilizer to help produce healthier lawns, plants, and flowers.
We support and participate in environmentally protective means to handle organics around the U.S. Through our own facilities and those of our partners, Waste Management recycled more than 2.5 million tons of organic material at more than 36 sites in 2011.
Here are a few tips for composting pumpkins, leaves and yard trimmings:
• Hollow out your pumpkin. Whether you have a carved or un-carved pumpkin, remove all of the meat and seeds. The seeds can be roasted as a healthy homemade snack and the meat can be used in soups-you can find a variety of recipes in cookbooks or on the web.
- Remove any wax and candles.
• Cut up or smash the pumpkin into several pieces to provide more surface area. Smaller pieces will break down more easily.
• Use a backyard composter or find a small area either in your backyard or on the side of your house where a pile of natural materials will not interfere with your landscaping.
• Good composting piles need nutrient-rich green material (including pumpkins, fruits, & vegetables) with browns (leaves, shrub trimmings). Place the pumpkin pieces on a bed of woody yard trimmings or leaves, and lay out all the pieces of your pumpkins, then add a layer of materials like leaves and other yard trimmings.
• Continue to add other vegetable or fruit peels or other organic materials to the compost pile and layer with woody brown material as they are generated.
• Sit back and let Mother Nature work her magic. If you want to speed up the process, you can occasionally turn the pile over using a pitchfork or shovel.
Some of the best ‘green’ tips we can offer our customers are those designed for living an eco-friendly lifestyle throughout the year. The following are additional tips to help reduce, reuse and recycle this Halloween:
• Give eco-friendly treats. Local organic groceries and health food stores offer a wide range candy from organic chocolates to organic lollipops. These tasty treats are produced using methods that are not damaging to the environment.
• Use recyclable bags for your trick-or-treaters. A fun family activity is to create a unique trick-or-treat basket, or simply put a reusable bag to good use. Avoiding the plastic jack-o-lantern-type containers will avoid clutter, save money, and add a dash of originality to your trick-or-treaters’ costume.
• Make your own costumes. Put less stress on your wallet by opting for costumes made of reusable or recycled materials. You can find Halloween costume materials from thrift stores or yard sales.
• Walk instead of drive. Rather than drive to other neighborhoods, stay close to home and trick-or-treat in your neighborhood. By walking from house to house you are reducing fuel consumption, air pollution, and getting exercise. Consider safety when planning your route and use flashlights, glow sticks, or reflective clothing.
• Throw a green Halloween party. Purchase organic pumpkins for carving and apples for bobbing from local organic farms. Once the jack-o-lanterns are carved and the bobbing is complete, use the apples and pumpkins for pies, soups and other tasty dishes.
• Reuse and recycle: Now is a great time to start composting. Halloween jack-o-lanterns, fallen leaves, food scraps, and other organic, biodegradable yard and household waste are perfect items to get your compost bin started.
• Help keep neighborhoods clean while trick-or-treating. Carry an extra bag and pick up litter along the way. Candy wrappers can be a big source of litter on local streets during Halloween.