Hudson County, NJ--Pumpkins are surely no good for our landfills or environment.

That's why Hudson County Improvement Authority urges residents to recycle those gems on December 3, from 10 am to 2 pm at your local park.  

Since landfills lack oxygen, organic matter such as pumpkins produce methane gas, which is quite harmful for the climate, according to a report by Environmental Magazine.

But fortunately the report listed six methods to recycle pumpkins -- so be "eco-friendly" –go to one of HCIA's events to get rid of them, this year. 

You can compost your pumpkins, feed wild animals or birds, consume the seeds, eat the skin and/or refresh it, as well.

First, remember to compost, as pumpkins are loaded with vitamins.

And while water is harmful to the landfill, it's great for the compost pile.

"Clean out the seeds so you don’t have unwanted pumpkins growing in the pile," said the report. "Chop up the rind to speed up decomposition and bury it under dried leaves or sawdust to keep hungry critters away."

While animals in your backyard tend to be a nuisance, it's still nice to feed them.

Yes, "Many backyard animals (e.g., deer, rabbits, squirrels, woodchucks) get that “pumpkin feeling” in the fall, and they can’t pull up to a Starbucks like we can," noted the magazine, adding: "Leave the jack-o-lantern out, as is, for your furry friends to snack on...”

To please the birds, slice pumpkin in half lengthwise and fill it with birdseed, writes the magazine.

"...Hang it from a tree branch or railing. You can also cut out a large, oval opening at the front of the pumpkin and clean out the inside," said the magazine. "The birds will have a soft, cozy place to land in and have a snack."

Most of us know that those seeds are delicious and also health food, so why not save them? (Or if you don’t, go to one of HCIA’s recycling events to get rid of them.)

"Roast the seeds by first using a paper towel to blot away any pulp, then spread the seeds out on a paper bag to dry overnight," said the report. "Next day, spread the seeds out on a cookie sheet and roast for no longer than 20 minutes. Bag the roasted seeds to have ready-to-go snacks or use them in salads, soups, or burger mix.”

Still, why not bake pumpkin skin chips? Yes, the skin is full of essential vitamins and nutrients.

"Carefully cut off the skin in long slices, as thin as you can get them. Put the skins into a large bowl, sprinkle generously with Kosher salt,” said the report. "Let sit for 10 minutes (and) add a small amount of extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees. Sprinkle the pieces of skin with paprika and sea salt and crisp in a dehydrator for additional flavor."

You can also prepare a puree for pies, shakes, lattes or ice cream, so long as you haven't carved the pumpkin. 

But to replenish your skin and make a skin coating: "Cut up the rind, steam it until tender and puree it in a food processor or with a hand-held mixer... Mix about one-fourth of a cup of the puree with one egg and add an ingredient for your skin type, e.g., honey for dry skin, apple cider for oily skin," added the report.

Bright fall pumpkins are reportedly everywhere. But they don't go in the landfill, according to the report. They're mostly water and add way too much water to landfills. So please attend one of HCIA’s recycling events.

Pumpkins also make groundwater contamination worse.

"As pumpkins break down," said the report. "They create methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas that is more powerful than carbon dioxide (CO2)." 

 Saturday, December 3rd 2022 between 10am and 2pm

Here are the drop-off locations for December’s event.

Jersey City | Lincoln Park (Duncan Ave Parking Lot)

North Bergen | Braddock Park (Picnic Area Parking Lot)

Bayonne | Gregg Park (Parking Lot #1)

Kearny | West Hudson Park (Duck Pond Parking Lot)

Each separate event is on Saturday, December 3, 2022, from 10 am to 2 pm. 

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