When Halloween is over, thousands of jack-o'-lanterns will be disposed of in Michigan. Instead of putting your pumpkin in the trash bound for a landfill, try giving ol' Jack a new purpose through organic recycling, as explained in this new EGLE Classroom video.
In Delhi Township in Ingham County, for example, they collect pumpkins to feed to sheep that keep the grounds around the wastewater treatment plant maintained.
And in Ann Arbor, they accept any food scraps as compost, including jack-o'-lanterns, as long they are not painted, bleached or treated in any other way.
Aaron Hiday, of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, is the statewide composting coordinator for the State of Michigan. He encourages people to compost their pumpkins through their community composting sites or by creating your own compost bin. This reduces the amount of waste in landfills and helps nourish soil.
Don't have a compost bin? Check with your local recycler for drop-off locations for yard waste to see if they accept pumpkins for composting. The Michigan Recycling Directory website lists locations that take food scraps. (Select the "Organics" tab and then click on "Food Scraps." Before taking your jack-o'-lantern there, be sure to verify with the location that they accept food scraps.)
The handy Home Composting: Reap a Heap of Benefits info sheet provides more information.
To learn more about composting, visit EGLE's composting website.