Fall has finally come and that means its pumpkin season, pumpkins fill the stores and decorate homes however, what happens after pumpkin season is over? Unfortunately, over half of the pumpkins bought as innocent home decorations are dumped into landfills creating about 1.3 billion lbs of land waste each year. This is both wasteful as well as harmful for the environment. But what if there was a way that we can both enjoy this festive season as well as being mindful of the environment? There are plenty of solutions to this wasteful act, some of which include:
1. Composting - The first and best way to give back to the environment is by converting that rotting pumpkin into nutritious pumpkin compost! Begin by removing all candle wax from the insides of your pumpkin, then scoop out the pulp and keep it to the side. You want to make sure the pumpkin is completely hollow in order for it to compost properly. Next, smash the pumpkin into smaller pieces so that it is easier to decompose. Lastly, cover the pumpkin piece with carbon rich compostable material likes leaves, wood chips or sawdust. Your second option is to look up your nearest compost site or organizations such as SCARCE that will collect your pumpkin and dispose of it in the correct manner.
2. Baking - If you love being in the kitchen then this one is for you, there are plenty of things you can make with pumpkin pulp! For starters, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin sauce, pudding, vegetable stock the list goes on and on. Plus, pumpkin is full of vitamin A and antioxidants that may reduce the risk of chronic illnesses. It's packed with vitamins that may boost your immunity and consist of Lutein and Zeaxanthin which help protect your eyesight.
3. Roasting - Now for all those seeds, once you've scooped out all the seeds and pulp from your pumpkin make sure to store the seeds in a bowl. Rinse the seeds with cold water, if you want some extra crispiness boil them in salt water for a couple of minutes. Pre-heat your oven to about 350•F, take a tray and for every cup of seeds toss in 2 teaspoons of melted butter, sprinkle some seasoning on top and bake for about 15- 20 minutes! You can make them sweet, savory or spicy depending on what seasoning you decide to use, and enjoy :)
4. Body Scrubs! - Lastly, for those who are more inclined to beauty tips and tricks you must try this scrub out. For every 1/2 cup of pulp combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 TB coconut oil and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Though this may sound like a dessert recipe, your skin will love it! This scrub is packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta-carotene. Mix in your pumpkin pulp with room temperature coconut oil, once dissolved add in the brown sugar and lastly the cinnamon. Place in an airtight container and then store it in your fridge. Pro tip: this scrub is best when used right away!
Make this pumpkin season fun for both you and your planet, there are multiple innovative ideas that you can put into action. Instead of contributing to the billions of pounds of landfill, take the initiative to reuse and recycle your pumpkin! Sustainability doesn't have to be boring and it doesn't have to be tedious, make this fall season beneficial for all.