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Here's What To Do With Your Old Halloween Pumpkins

Have those old Halloween pumpkins and you're not sure what to do with them?

While throwing these orange orbs into the trash might seem like a good option, it’s not the best for our planet.

When tossed, pumpkins end up in landfills as food waste. Buried under heaps of trash, they rot and release methane — one of the most potent greenhouse gasses. Food waste makes up 37% of Cook County’s landfill material, according to the University of Illinois Extension.

But there is a very cathartic and environmentally friendly way to dispose of Halloween gourds: a pumpkin smash!

These events are exactly what they sound like — a chance for people to smash their beloved jack-o-lanterns into a compostable mess using a baseball bat or other creative methods. Once smashed, the chunks are transferred to composting sites across Illinois. Composting reduces methane creation and transforms the pumpkins into useful, organic nutrients for soil or mulch.


U of I is partnering with five sites to host smashes on Saturday:

— Gary Comer Youth Center, 7200 S. Ingleside Ave.

— Lake View High School, 4015 N. Ashland Ave.

— Morton School of Excellence, 431 N. Troy St.

— Plant Chicago, 4459 S. Marshfield Ave.

— First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights, 302 N. Dunton Ave., Arlington Heights

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