Pumpkins seem like too small a thing to devote an entire page of our website, but with thousands of households in the City of Fort Lauderdale, as well as numerous businesses and schools that decorate for Halloween, chances are that we are purchasing and carving tens of thousands of pumpkins per year. That’s a lot of food waste if they are all tossed into garbage carts after Halloween or Thanksgiving. Remember, food waste in a landfill generates an enormous amount of methane gas which is harmful to the atmosphere. So instead of tossing your pumpkin, consider one of these eco-friendly options available to you in the City of Fort Lauderdale.
Keep the Pumpkin Whole and Inside
Pumpkins keep well at room temperature. You can enjoy your pumpkin in multiple ways by keeping it whole and keeping it inside as long as possible. Use markers, paint, stickers and props to create a fun jack-o-lantern in October. Give it a place of honor in your home. Then, when November rolls around, remove the decorations, wash your pumpkin well, and carve it open to enjoy as a tasty snack. Roast the seeds, cut up the fruit and bake as a side dish, or make a fabulous pumpkin pie-- all just in time for Thanksgiving.
After the holiday, remove all decorations and candles, and gently place your pumpkin inside your yard waste cart. Nothing could be easier!
Please make sure to place your pumpkin in the green cart with the lid completely closed. This keeps wildlife out of your cart while you are waiting for collection day. If possible, place the pumpkin in the cart just prior to pick-up to minimize rot.
Compost Your Pumpkin
If you own a composter, go ahead and toss your pumpkin right in. If you don't have a composter, you can still return your pumpkin to the earth quickly and easily. Follow these simple guidelines from the Environmental Industry Association.
- Remove artificial items that cannot compost (e.g. candles or foil) and seeds, which may grow into unwanted new pumpkins.
- If you don't have a compost pile, find a shady spot in your garden for your hollowed-out pumpkins.
- Smash pumpkins into smaller pieces. This increases their surface area and helps them turn to compost faster.
- Loosely cover the pumpkins with compostable materials like leaves or wood chips. This protects the pumpkins from pests and helps them break down into usable compost.
- Let Mother Nature take over! In weeks, your pumpkins will transform into nutrient-rich compost. Spread it around plants in your garden.
Turn Your Pumpkin into a Treat for Local Wildlife
Take your pumpkin to the South Florida Wildlife Center where it can become a tasty treat and teaching tool for raccoons and other animals that are being rehabilitated. Pumpkins are used to teach animals to forage for food, which prepares them for release into the wild. Check to be sure that the Center still needs pumpkins at the time you intend to donate yours. No artificial pumpkins please.