When Nov. 1 hits, lots of pumpkins, carved and uncarved, hit the curb for the trash men to take away. When food goes to the landfill, anaerobic decomposition turns into methane gas. Methane gas is one of the contributing factors to climate change.

What can you do with your leftover pumpkin once the holiday is over to keep it out of the landfill? Here are some ideas.

  • Compost your pumpkin. If you have a compost pile, chop it up into small pieces so it breaks down more quickly and add it to your compost pile. Food added to a compost pile that is properly cared for does not turn into methane like food put in a closed landfill.
  • If you don’t have a compost bin, find a neighbor who has one and donate it.
  • If the pumpkin is still in good condition — eat it. Cut it into pieces, roast them, and make pumpkin soup, baby food or pumpkin spice cookies. Don’t forget the seeds make good eating, too. You can roast the seeds for a crunchy snack.
  • Give it away. If the pumpkin is in good condition ask your friends on Facebook if anyone wants the pumpkin to cook with if you aren’t going to cook with it yourself. If you get no takers, try putting it up on freecycle.
  • Leave your pumpkin in a back corner of your yard for animals to feast on. This is not recommended in urban areas since it might invite rodents, but if you’re in the suburbs or the country, you can treat the critters. (via Smithsonian National Zoological Park)
  • Call your municipality and find out if there are any special pumpkin disposal regulations. Some municipalities have a place for you to take the old pumpkins or pick them up curbside (like they do Christmas trees) so that they don’t end up in the trash.

  Image: Snarky Momma

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Kitchen recycling tip: Pumpkins
When Halloween is over, don't send those pumpkins to the landfill.