Why You Should Never Ever Throw Halloween Pumpkins in the Trash

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Every October, we love carving jack-o'-lanterns and using them as seasonal decor. However, once Halloween comes to pass, you might be looking at your pumpkin friends and wondering, "What am I supposed to do with you now?" This is especially the case if they've become saggy and sad-looking. The answer: Whatever you do, do not throw them in the trash.

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According to Waste Dive, a shocking 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins end up in U.S. landfills every year. Not only does this take up extra space in landfills (and in your own garbage can) and act as a waste of food, but the decomposing pumpkins also release methane. The Atlantic reports that the latter is actually worse than carbon dioxide in terms of its contribution to global warming.

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While it's always great to celebrate Halloween with a spooky DIY, you definitely don't want that project ending up in a landfill where it will cause more harm than good.

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How to dispose of Halloween pumpkins:

Waste Management states that you should first try to compost your pumpkin, minus the candles and other decorations. (Also, remove the seeds if you don't want pumpkins growing in your compost pile!) If you don't have a compost pile or service, simply google composting drop-offs and community gardens near you. You'll likely be surprised to see that there are several ways to compost food scraps in your area — even if you live in an urban city.

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If composting simply isn't an option, Waste Management writes that you can bury your pumpkins in the garden. "Dig shallow holes into your garden and place small pieces of your Halloween pumpkins inside," the company writes. "Then, cover these holes with the soil and let nature takes its course." Once the pumpkins break down, they will enrich the soil and help your plants thrive.

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Also, if your pumpkins are still firm and fresh, ​Audubon​ says that you can turn them into bird feeders. Plus, the pumpkin seeds, flesh, and cut-up pieces of the pumpkin can serve as a tasty snack for local wildlife.

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