picture of several pumpkins

Pumpkin recycling and waste prevention ideas from Tompkins County Recycling and Materials Management (TCRMM)

November 01, 2022

Pumpkins are a well-loved part of Halloween and autumn festivities. Once Halloween has passed and autumn comes to an end, people need to recycle them. Instead of throwing pumpkins and gourds away, Tompkins County Recycling and Materials Management urges county residents to recycle them and reduce waste.

Compost Leftover Pumpkins

Instead of putting pumpkins in the trash which will leave them haunting landfills, try composting! Pumpkins and other fall gourds are great additions to your home compost pile.

Tips for Composting Pumpkins:

  • Smash up any pumpkin rinds and guts before mixing them into a backyard pile with plenty of carbon sources (leaves, wood chips, twigs, etc.).
  • Be sure to remove any candles, wax, or lights, and avoid composting any painted or glittered pumpkins.
  • Remove seeds before composting to prevent growing pumpkin plants in your compost.

Collect Pumpkin Seeds to Grow or Eat

  • Save the seeds and grow your own pumpkins! Be sure to remove the pulp, rinse the seeds, pat them dry, then store them in a paper envelope in a cool, dark, dry place.
  • Bake and have a tasty treat! You can find recipes for baked pumpkin seeds online.

Don’t forget! If home composting is not an option, pumpkin leftovers can be taken to one of the many Food Scraps Recycling Drop-Spots around Tompkins County.

Members of the public are invited to email Sarah Nickerson, TCRMM Communications Coordinator, to share more ideas for pumpkin recycling and waste reduction.

For more information, please visit www.recycletompkins.org or contact Sarah Nickerson, TCRMM Communications Coordinator, at snickerson@tompkins-co.org.