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Don’t toss that pumpkin in the trash: Seven ways to use your pumpkin after Halloween instead of putting it in a landfill

Now that Halloween is here, thousands upon thousands of pumpkins will need to be disposed of in the coming days. Talk about scaarrrry!

Pumpkins on a stoop.

After Halloween, dispose of pumpkins in a sustainable way. 


Every year, Americans throw away over 1 billion pounds of pumpkins destined for landfills where they decompose and generate methane gas that contributes to climate change. Michigan produces 79 million pounds of pumpkins every year, ranking fourth in the nation.

Instead of tossing your whole or jack-o’-lantern pumpkins in the trash, consider these alternatives to use them in a more sustainable way.

Here are seven ways to get more use out of your pumpkins/pumpkin parts:

  • Bake it and make pumpkin puree to use in baking, cooking, or yummy smoothies!
  • Make roasted pumpkin seeds.
  • Donate pumpkins to feed animals. Check with local municipalities, farms, and zoos to see if they can use your pumpkins to feed their animals. 

Sheep eating pumpkins dropped off at the collection site in Delhi Township. Courtesy of Delhi Township.

Sheep eating pumpkins dropped off at the collection site in Delhi Township. Courtesy of Delhi Township. 


  • Drop-off pumpkins and jack-o’- lanterns at community collection sites that will compost them. Check with area municipalities and universities for special Halloween-related drop-off sites. Also, check EGLE’s recycling directory that lists locations that take food scraps. (Just type " food scraps" into the field where it says, "What are you looking to recycle?" Before taking your jack-o'-lantern there, be sure to verify the location’s collection details and policies.)
  • Find a commercial food waste collection service that will pick up pumpkins and other food scraps from your home for composting. Food waste collector My Green Michigan was recently highlighted in an EGLE video.
  • Make it a tasty snack for wildlife by just letting it be in your garden or a wooded area in your yard.
  • EGLE Compost Program Coordinator Aaron Hiday encourages Michiganders to compost their pumpkins if they have the space. “You can mix your pumpkins with your fall leaves in a bin to create compost that will help nourish your own soil next spring,” he says. EGLE’s handy guide, Home Composting: Reap a Heap of Benefits, provides helpful information, and more composting tips are highlighted in this EGLE video.

To learn more about composting, visit To learn more about food recovery, visit