VDEQ suggests composting Halloween pumpkins instead of just throwing them away

VDEQ suggests composting Halloween pumpkins instead of just throwing them away
Halloween pumpkins (Source: WAVE 3 News)

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — With Halloween now over, you might be looking to clear your front porch of pumpkins, but the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality says you shouldn’t just throw them in the trash.

Nesha Mcrae is the Total Maximum Daily Load TMDL coordinator for the Valley Regional Office of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and she says composting is the better choice.

Mcrae says there are three easy steps in composting pumpkins:

  1. The first thing to do is to remove the seeds if you haven’t already in order to avoid pumpkins eventually growing in your yard.
  2. Then break it up or smash it, which she says could be a fun way to get the kids involved.
  3. And lastly, either put it in your compost bin or dig a small hole, place the pumpkin in and cover with leaves or soil.

After waiting a few months, you can then use the compost around your yard, or in your gardens.

“Using compost as opposed to commercial fertilizers really does improve the quality of your soil. It allows the soil to hold more water, and that, in turn, slows runoff which can carry pollution to our rivers and streams,” Mcrae said.

According to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, keeping food waste out of landfills helps reduce methane emissions, which can be harmful to air quality.

Mcrae says although composting is better than just throwing out your pumpkins, you should not compost if you painted them or added any sort of preservatives.

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