This Halloween, don’t trash your pumpkins, smash them with Plant Chicago and University of Illinois Extension.
Illinois is one of the top producers of pumpkins in the U.S., but when jack o’ lanterns are past their prime, many end up in the trash. According to the 2018 Cook County Solid Waste Management Plan, over 37% of landfilled material in the county is composed of organic materials. When organic material is sent to the landfill, it creates methane (a major greenhouse gas). Composting not only diverts materials from landfills and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but could generate more than 4 times more local jobs per ton than landfills (IEC).
To divert pumpkins from landfills, Illinois Extension in Cook County and Plant Chicago are partnering to host a Pumpkin Smash from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on November 7 at 4459 S. Marshfield Ave., Chicago.
Participants can collect pumpkins for their neighborhood, school or workplace and drop off their pumpkins for free at this outdoor event. Candles, ribbons or any other synthetic material should be removed. Participants must wear a face covering and maintain social distancing. For those who cannot attend the event, composting may still be an option through their local trash provider, private service, or by starting a compost pile.
Pumpkin Smash events are available throughout Cook County. Visit the SCARCE website to find an event.
Read the full press release from University of Illinois Extension.