A zero waste Halloween: How should you dispose of your pumpkin?

For those who have access to a composter the answer may seem clear. But for those who don’t, here are some environmentally friendly ways to get rid of your jack-o-lanterns.  

Kyle Richards

Pumpkins rotting in a field






With Halloween behind us, many people will be wondering what to do with the jack-o-lanterns outside their homes. Instead of waiting for the next garbage day, there are some environmentally friendly options available.

If you own a composter or can avail of a community garden’s compost, here are some tips to consider before tossing pumpkins in the bin.

Steve Ivany of Good2GrowNL says he’s no stranger to compost as he motions towards a compost pile that stands almost two metres tall behind the shop in Topsail. This pile is open to residents who might not have the means to compost at home

Ivany and the team at Good2GrowNL accept food waste, leaves and – around this time of year – pumpkins.

He said composting is a relatively easy way to recycle waste.

“All you really need is a dark container and patience.”

Larger vegetables and fruit such as pumpkins are much easier to break down in compost when broken into smaller pieces.

“Think of it like ice,” said Ivany. “The smaller the pieces, the quicker they thaw – in this case, decompose.”

Ivany encourages others to take the extra time to break up their pumpkins and remove any decorations before composting them. But they don’t have to make it perfect.

“Wax won’t hurt your compost pile,” said Ivany. 

Good2GrowNL will also be collecting jack-o-lanterns on behalf of the CBS Community Garden. On Nov. 1, residents will be able to drop off their pumpkins between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Jack-o-lanterns will also be collected at the Richard Parsons Ball Field, CBS Rentals and the CBS gateway Garden. 

These pumpkins are then used to light up the Gateway Garden for their all-ages Pumpkin Stroll.

Admission is free and will begin at 5:30 this evening and will be sensory friendly until 6 p.m. From 6 to 7:30 p.m. all are welcomed to take part and enjoy the jack-o-lanterns.

CBS Gateway Garden will be transformed this evening for the annual Pumpkin Stroll. Jack-o-lanterns from the community will be displayed atop the garden beds.
CBS Gateway Garden will be transformed this evening for the annual Pumpkin Stroll. Jack-o-lanterns from the community will be displayed atop the garden beds. Kyle Richards/Kicker

More than just compost – they’re great feed too.

If you live in an especially wooded or rural area, you may have even more options.

Science Interpreter Daniel Stoyles of Manuels River Interpretation Centre notes that pumpkins are still edible to a variety of bugs and animals. 

“Aside from roasting the seeds, we generally don’t see pumpkins as a food source once they’ve been carved. Animals, on the other hand, couldn’t care less.

“A pumpkin can be a nutritious snack for insects all the way to smaller mammals,” Stoyles explained. “Take care to remove the seeds, but other than that you can leave it on the forest floor and let nature take its course”.

Another disposal method is to bury the pumpkin in a shallow hole – if your property allows it. This will provide nutrients directly to the soil while the pumpkin decomposes.

“There’s more than one way to make sure your pumpkin doesn’t go to waste this year,” Stoyles said. “Recycling these pumpkins can be a baby step towards a zero waste initiative in your household.”

Related story: Pumpkins are more than Jack O’Lanterns

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.