You’ll work hard to avoid the toilet paper in the trees and the egg goop on your front door, but even then, you aren’t in the clear. The quickly rotting jack-o-lanterns on your stoop are primed to offer up a few tricks of their own. Those pumpkins have to go somewhere, and currently the vast majority of them end up in the landfill. As it decomposes, landfilled organic waste produces methane gas, which has, pound for pound, more than 25 times the climate change impact of carbon dioxide emissions. The 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the US each year add to this goulish effect.
But one person’s trick can be another’s treat, and organic waste is no exception. The Bioenergy Technologies Office of the Energy Department is working with science and industry leaders to develop ways of converting bio-waste into usable energy, both in the form of fuel and as support for the electricity grid. One of their projects is to support the production of bio-refineries around the country that use municipal solid waste. Soon, it may be possible light your home with pumpkin power!
But you’ve got gunky gourds to get rid of right now, and you’re in luck. The technology for turning those spooky, carved faces into tasty treats is already available in the form of composting. Ditch the melon-choloy and the infinite squashness, it’s time for some pumpkin smashing!
The NYC Compost Project hosted by Big Reuse is once again joining forces with our Queens Botanical Garden partners for Pumpkin Smash 2016. Bring your pumpkins (and all your other food waste) to the Sunnyside Green Market (Skillman Ave btwn 42 & 43 Streets, Queens) Saturday, November 5th, and squash some squash! Big Reuse and QBG will clean up the debris and turn it into nutrient-rich compost to amend the soil around Queens.