What to do with Jack-o’-lanterns

Pumpkins tossed in the trash will end up rotting in the dump

Benjamin Stevens

If one-quarter of the households in Metro Vancouver carve a Halloween pumpkin this year, that’s about 200,000 Jack-o’-lanterns.

That means November is greeted with 1,000 metric tonnes of shrivelled and sad-looking gourds.

Pumpkins tossed in the trash will end up rotting in the dump. There, they’ll generate methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that causes global warming.

Two-thirds of the methane in the Metro Vancouver region comes from the region’s landfills.

Keeping all those pumpkins out of the dump eliminates about 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, so it’s worth the effort.

• So: Chop your pumpkin up and put it in your backyard composter or your kitchen or balcony worm composter. The worms will get to work, providing nutrient-rich compost that you can use to grow next year’s pumpkin.

• Or: Dig a shallow trench in your vegetable or flower garden and drop in shredded pumpkin chunks. Fill in the trench knowing that the nutrients will nourish the ground and act as an excellent, natural fertilizer.

If you live in Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, the Township of Langley, Vancouver or White Rock, you can add your pumpkin in your yard trimmings container for regular curbside pickup.

For tips on how to compost, please visit your municipal website or the regional district’s website, www.metrovancouver.org .

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