Lee's Summit Journal

Pumpkins seen better days? Earth-friendly event in LS keeps them out of landfill

Have a Halloween jack-o'-lantern past its prime? Resist the urge to send it to the landfill.
Have a Halloween jack-o'-lantern past its prime? Resist the urge to send it to the landfill. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Is that jack-o’-lantern sinking in, making its grin looking more goofy than gruesome the day after Halloween? Are those once-pretty pumpkins looking less than elegant on your front porch?

Resist the urge to drop them all in a trash bag. Rody Taylor, owner of KC Dumpster, has an alternative plan.

KC Dumpster, which operates the Lee’s Summit Public Disposal Area, is holding a free pumpkin take-back event Nov. 1-2 at the Lee’s Summit Resource Recovery Park. Taylor said any gourd, along with seasonal decor like ornamental corn, can become next year’s gold once it’s composted.

“There aren’t a lot of people taking out the seeds and roasting them, or turning the pumpkins into pie,” said Taylor, who got the idea for the event while visiting a weekly residential food scrap collection service called Compost Crowd in Sedona, Arizona.

“It turns out that around 2 billion pounds of pumpkin are sold, and more than half make their way to a landfill,” Taylor said.

“Most people want to do the right thing. Pumpkins are a small part of the bigger picture (of food waste), but it’s something.”

At a composting pad at the facility, those pumpkins will be mixed with yard clippings and it will all be turned into compost.

When the information on the event was posted on Facebook, Taylor was surprised by the response.

“It’s created a dialogue,” he said, adding that many shared other ideas for keeping the pumpkins out of the landfill.

“That post went viral,” he said, pausing to laugh. “Well, as viral as a post from a trash company can go.”

Families are encouraged to attend the event and see the pumkins piled in dumpsters.

The pumpkin take-back event, open to anyone in the metro area and beyond, will run 7:30-4 Friday, Nov. 1 and 7:30-3 Saturday, Nov. 2. at the Resource Recover Park, 2101 S.E. Hamblen Road.