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Over one billion pounds of pumpkins are grown in the United States every year, and millions will end up in a landfill after they’ve been used.

Source: Click On Detroit | Local 4 | WDIV/YouTube

You might have noticed pumpkins in the gutters or on garbage cans now that Halloween is over. All of that will end up in the landfill, where it will become methane. Methane is more potent than carbon dioxide, and it can heat the atmosphere much faster.

“Driving around after Halloween, you see people with pumpkins on top of their garbage cans. All of that will go to a landfill and become methane gas,” says Kay McKeen, the executive director at SCARCE, an environmental education organization based in Illinois, told National Geographic.

In 2014, McKeen and her SCARCE colleagues started Pumpkin Smash. At Pumpkin Smash, residents can bring their rotting pumpkins to 69 different locations, where they will be sent off to compost bins. They calculate they have saved 538 tons of pumpkin from the landfill.

“It puts nutrients back in our soil, it saves water, it doesn’t make methane gas—it’s just a win-win,” says McKeen.

This is an amazing idea, but unfortunately, most places don’t have programs like this. So what should you be doing with your pumpkin once it’s carved? Well, first off, it is edible. Find some pumpkin recipes and get going. Check out these One Green Planet pumpkin recipes:

Pumpkin seeds can also be roasted and used as a snack. Or they can be made into milk. Pumpkin can also be used in beauty products. Its nutritional benefits make it great for your skin.

If you don’t want to use the pumpkin to eat or in beauty products, make sure you are disposing of it in a compost or food waste-only bin.

Read more One Green Planet news about Halloween waste.

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