Ready to Throw Out Your Pumpkins? Try These Eco-Friendly Ideas Instead

Carved Pumpkin that says "Compost Me"

You came, you carved and you conquered Halloween - now, what do you do with your pumpkins, gourds and apples?  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkin ends up in landfills across the country, each year. 

Organic waste like pumpkins, apples and gourds doesn't properly break down in oxygen deprived landfills. Instead, the decomposition process generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas, which gets released into the atmosphere.

As an alternative to adding to landfill waste, here are some eco-friendly ideas to help you get rid of this year’s jack-o-lantern.

Compost it at the Kittery Resource Recovery Facility (KRRF)

Residents looking to dispose of post-Halloween pumpkins, gourds and apples in a sustainable way, can bring them to the Kittery Resource Recovery Facility (KRRF) and add them to the compost pile during Hazardous Waste hours.  This portion of the facility is open on Wednesdays, from 9 AM - 4 PM and on Saturdays, from 7:15 AM - 2:15 PM.  

Please note: on Saturday, October 28, 2023 and Saturday, November 4, 2023, the KRRF will observe extended operating hours and remain open on those days until 4:15 PM.

Disposing of pumpkins, gourds and apples in the compost pile in the hazardous waste area is free to residents with a valid KRRF sticker.

Re-purpose or Compost Pumpkins At Home

If you have pumpkins that were never carved and are still in great condition, consider using them in the kitchen as part of a soup, puree or mash.  You can even re-purpose them into fall decor by slicing pumpkins in half and turning them into a bird feeder or planter.

Consider adding pumpkins to your compost pile or garden at home.  Gardeners can add pumpkins to their compost pile after removing any remaining seeds and being sure to cut off decorative material such as glitter, paint, stickers and candle wax. Slice the pumpkin into smaller pieces, scatter and bury them into the pile.

Feed the Animals

Provided your pumpkin isn’t moldy or filled with wax, consider donating your pumpkin to a local farm for animal feed. While individual animal tastes vary from farm to farm, many pigs, chickens, cattle, sheep and goats will eat pumpkins, gourds (squash/zucchini) and apples.  The ones that don’t, might even still use them as toys!

Local farms currently accepting pumpkins:

Sturgeon Creek Farm
Located at: 1651 State Road, Eliot, ME 03903
For questions, please contact: Leslie at 603-767-8545

Details: Pumpkins, apples, squash/zucchini may be dropped off in a bin outside the farm store.  No moldy or wax-filled items, please.

Ingendahl Acres
Located at: 334 Hiltons Lane, Wells, ME 04090
For questions, please contact: 207-432-9085

Details: Pumpkins and gourds can be dropped off outside the farm stand.  No moldy or wax-filled items, please.

Whether baking, repurposing or composting, we hope you can get creative and have fun finding new ways to reduce waste throughout the Kittery community.