Monday, November 8, 2010

Pumpkin Recycling

The Idea
A few weeks ago I was perusing a new-to-me blog, MamaStories, and I had an "Ah-Ha!" moment when I came across this post. One of those so-simple-yet-so-awesome ideas. Are you waiting with bated breath? It's the idea of adding neighborhood pumpkins to your compost pile! Why haven't I ever thought of that? Katrien and her daughter, through a cute little art project, get the word out to their neighbors that they will take any and all pumpkins after Halloween. They then use these as a supplement to their compost piles. Ingenious! Keeps them out of the landfill while building up the soil. I can't think of anything better.

The Email
So I took this idea and ran with it. Instead of making flyers I sent out an email to my local mom's group. It read exactly like this:

"After Halloween, instead of throwing your pumpkins in the trash, consider giving them to me! I will take any & all pumpkins, gourds, etc (both cut into and not) off your hands. Most will be composted. If I have a few that are uncut & still "viable" I will probably bake with them. I will be more than happy to pick them up from anywhere in the north oak cliff area. I just figured it's a way to 1)not put something in the landfill, 2)add to our growing compost, & 3)maybe even get a pie out of the deal!"

The Results

Let's just say I couldn't be happier. Over the last few days, during my usual errands (so I haven't had to drive out of the way), I've picked up numerous spent jack o' lanterns from about 5 families. They've filled the bags in the picture below (and don't worry, almost all of the bags I will be able to re-use). I already placed about half of them in our compost when I turned it on Saturday.

But just yesterday I hit the jackpot! From one house I received enough unblemished pumpkins to fill the entire back of my minivan! I was astonished!

I offered to make the homeowner a pumpkin pie, but all she asked in return was for 2 cups of pumpkin puree. Now I have enough edible pumpkin to last me through the spring - if not the summer. All of these pumpkins would have just gone in the trash. Now they will help to feed our tummies and grow summer veggies. Thanks again for the idea, Katrien! And thanks to all those who donated your pumpkins. We'll definitely be doing this again next year. -Carrie


  1. Wow, you really made it happen! We haven't got nearly as many, but they're still coming in. Carving them up - most are jack-o-lanterns - is my great joy. I love it.And dreaming about that great compost they make.

    So you should also make it a yearly tradition. We can exchange notes every year.

  2. I thought Katrien's idea was really great too. I haven't implemented it, but seeing your success, maybe I should.