‘Smashing Pumpkins’: Not the band, but a climate-friendly way to get rid of jack-o-lanterns

Read the full story from WBEZ.

This Halloween season has come to an end. The trick-or-treaters had their fun and jack-o-lanterns across Chicagoland are getting cleared from stoops.

While throwing these past perfect pumpkins 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 material – like nutrients for soil or mulch.

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