Government Public Works

West Hartford Residents’ Aging Pumpkins Can Become Compost and Bio-Fuel

An organics container for pumpkins has been put into place at the West Hartford Public Works facility at 17 Brixton St. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Town of West Hartford is collecting pumpkins through Nov. 27 at two different locations.

By Ronni Newton

Jack-O-Lanterns have had their night in the spotlight, and while residents may be tempted to toss them into the trash along with the other aging pumpkins that have been munched on by squirrels or other creatures, the Town of West Hartford has some suggestions for more environmentally friendly alternatives who can’t compost the pumpkins in their own yards.

The Department of Public Works has once again deployed an organics barrels at its Brixton Street facility, and because it was so successful when added last year also has a barrel at Westmoor Park to provide a more convenient drop-off location for those who live in the north end of town. The barrels will remain in place through Nov. 27.

“Composting pumpkins is a great opportunity for West Hartford residents to reduce the amount of trash that is sent to incinerators and, increasingly, out of state,” said Recycling Coordinator Katherine Bruns.

Pumpkins can be composted in your own backyard as well, but organic material should not ever be placed in recycling bins, nor should it go into the trash. Bruns urges those who can’t compost in their backyard to please drop-off pumpkins in one of the pumpkin containers.

The pumpkins collected by the town will be sent to Quantum Biopower in Southington where they will be turned into valuable compost and bio-gas. Food waste and organics are dense and heavy, and composting them will cut down on the amount of trash being sent to incinerators, and also cut down on the energy needed to burn the heavy material.

“Did you know: over 1 billion pumpkins end up in landfill every year in the USA alone?” Bruns said.

Bruns also suggested “carpooling” with some neighbors’ pumpkins for the drop-off as well, to further save energy.

While pumpkins are often enjoyed by squirrels – and Bruns said last year her own was completely consumed, right down to the very last seed, she cautioned, “If dropping off at Westmoor Park PLEASE don’t feed pumpkins to the animals!”

Plastic bags, as well as any other trash or recyclables, should not be included with the pumpkins. While painted pumpkins are okay, all candles must be removed.

The pumpkin recycling locations are:

  • Department of Public Works, 17 Brixton Street, West Hartford
  • Westmoor Park, 119 Flagg Road, West Hartford

If you’re done with your Jack- or Jane-O-Lantern, don’t throw them in the trash. Courtesy photo (we-ha.com file photo)

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