It’s October and there are pumpkins everywhere! Many households like to use pumpkins for a colorful decoration this time of year and if you celebrate Halloween you probably carve your pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns. But what do you do with your Halloween pumpkins when November arrives? If you usually just throw it in the trash there is a better option for disposing of your jack-o-lanterns. Composting is a great option to keep your pumpkins out of the landfill. According to WasteDive.com more than 1 billion pounds of pumpkins go to the landfill every year in the United States.

Since 2014 Chicagoland has a pumpkin composting option and has diverted over 377 tons of pumpkins from the landfill thanks to SCARCE. The Pumpkin Smash is an annual event for communities to divert pumpkins from landfills to be composted. As SCARCE says: “Don’t Trash it, Smash it!”

If you are wondering why we should keep pumpkins out of the landfill, here are some reasons according to SCARCE:

  • Avoids landfill greenhouse gas emissions from decomposing organics (currently, landfills are the 3rd largest producers of methane in the U.S.!)
  • Produces a useful, nutrient-dense soil amendment
  • Pumpkins are 90% water which is great for our soil, not so good in our landfills

Many communities in Cook County are hosting 2020 Pumpkin Smash events including these:

  • Evanston: November 7, 2020, 9am-noon at the Civic Center
  • Glencoe: November 1, 2020, 1pm-3pm at the Community Gardens (300 Harbor Ct)
  • Mount Prospect: November 7, 2020, 9am-noon at Public Works
  • Park Ridge: November 7, 2020, 9am-noon at Public Works
  • Skokie: November 7 and 8, 2020, 9am-3pm at Village Hall
  • Winnetka: November 4, 2020, 9am-1pm at Public Works
  • Wilmette: November 7, 2020, 9am-3pm at Centennial Park Parking Lot
  • Wilmette: November 7, 2020, 9am-3pm at Village Hall Parking Lot
  • Blue Island: November 7, 2020, 9am-noon at Blue Island Park District (12804 Highland Ave)
  • Chicago: November 7, 2020, 9am-noon at Plant Chicago @ The Firehouse (4459 S. Marshfield)
  • Chicago: November 7, 2020, noon-4pm at St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church (5649 N. Sheridan Rd. South end of parking lot)
  • Chicago: November 7, 2020, 9am-noon at Solorio High School – Gage Park (5400 S. St. Louis Ave)
  • Chicago: November 7, 2020, 9am-noon at CommUnity Maker, Gale Community Academy (1631 W. Jonquil Terr)
  • Elgin: November 7, 2020, 9am-noon at Hawthorne Hill Nature Center
  • Flossmoor: November 7, 2020, 10am-1pm at Coyote Run Golf Course
  • La Grange: November 7, 2020, 10am-noon at La Grange Park Public Works
  • Oak Park: November 7, 2020, 3pm-5pm at Barrie Park, Registration Required pdop.org/events
  • River Forest: November 7, 2020, 9am-noon at Roosevelt Middle School
  • Western Springs: November 7, 2020, 9am-noon at Western Springs Pool

You can find a map with more details and all of the locations of 2020 Pumpkin Smash events here.

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