Some types of Halloween décor can look a little spooky, especially after the ghoulish holiday. 


This year, following Halloween celebrations, the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District is hosting a pilot composting program for pumpkins. Special 20-yard collection containers will be placed at three locations in Cuyahoga County. Simply toss your pumpkins into the containers and they will be transported to a compost facility.

Intact and decaying pumpkins, carved jack-o’-lanterns and gourds are accepted. 


Remove candles, decorations, and stickers. Pumpkins that have been bleached, chemically treated, painted, or drawn on with permanent markers are not accepted. Do not include plastic or bags.


Pumpkin Composting Collection

Monday, October 30 - Sunday, November 5, 2023

NO cornstalks, hay bales, yard waste or other kitchen waste in the pumpkin collection containers. The 20-yard collection bins only accept unbagged pumpkins and gourds. Find a yard waste site for other outdoor organic decor. Do not put pumpkins in your yard waste collection. 


Contact us for details about the pilot Pumpkin Composting Program.

Watch our Interview on FOX8 Cleveland

Thanks to FOX8 Cleveland's Morning Show for inviting us to talk about our pilot Pumpkin Composting Collection program. We visited the show on October 26, 2023. Watch the interview.

What else can I do with unwanted pumpkins?

It’s estimated that more than 1 billion tons of pumpkins are thrown out each year, contributing to the food waste problem in the United States. Here are some other eco-friendly ways you can dispose of your old pumpkins and gourds to keep them out of landfills while doing your part to care for the environment. 


Compost it. Composting is the best way to discard your pumpkins. Before you toss a pumpkin in your backyard to decompose, be sure to clean it thoroughly, removing any seeds or any other non-compostable materials (e.g., decorations, accessories, stickers). If you don’t want pumpkin seeds to sprout in your compost pile, remove them and throw them away. Scrape the skin off any pumpkin that has paint or marker. Cut the pumpkin into pieces so it’s easier for it to break down in your compost pile.


Residents participating in a food waste pick-up or drop-off program should check with their service provider for details or instructions about pumpkins and gourds. See a list of local compost facilities.


Bury it. Pumpkins are 90% water. If you don’t add it to your compost pile, it can be buried in your yard to decompose. Bury the pumpkin in your garden under the mulch and in between plants. It will quickly break down in the soil adding nutrients to your garden for the following year.


Leave it for wildlife. Pumpkins are safe for animals to eat if they aren't rotting or have chemicals on them. Turn an old pumpkin into a feeder or cut it up and leave it outside for wildlife. Birds, foxes, deer, and other creatures will enjoy eating the fruit's flesh and seeds. Toss out any pieces that are starting to grow mold, as those are unsafe to consume.


Feed it to chickens. Donating pumpkins and gourds to local farms is a simple way to support local farmers. Chickens love to snack on them! Call your local community farms to see who may be accepting pumpkins or consider posting them on local Facebook or Nextdoor groups to connect with neighbors who are collecting or accepting these items. 


Eat your pumpkins. Fresh, uncarved pumpkins can be used to make delicious pies, breads, soups and more. Seeds can be eaten. A search for recipes will turn up lots of options for a seasonal food delight.



How do I learn more about recycling in my community?

Our public agency provides information about recycling collection, services, and programs for each of the 59 communities in Cuyahoga County. See details for your community