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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

Should Pumpkins be Canceled?

As Halloween approaches, we are all planning our Halloween costumes, and getting ready to buy spooky decorations. We are  utilizing the most iconic and traditional Halloween decoration: pumpkins.

Roughly 33 million pumpkins are produced every year for Halloween, whether they are used simply for decoration or carved into creepy Jack o’lanterns. 

These pumpkin traditions are fun, until Halloween is over, and it’s time to put away all the decorations, including our beloved bright orange gourds. Roughly 25 percent of Americans who buy pumpkins for aesthetic Halloween purposes intend to throw these decorative pumpkins away after Halloween is over. That means that 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkin end up in landfills post-Halloween, since people usually buy more than one pumpkin.

This is an issue.

 As pumpkins rot in landfills, they emit methane. Methane is a “greenhouse gas [that] is stronger than carbon dioxide, and has a far more significant impact on global warming”, staff says. 

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, “Methane is the primary contributor to the formation of ground-level ozone, a hazardous air pollutant and greenhouse gas, exposure to which causes 1 million premature deaths every year. Methane is also a powerful greenhouse gas. Over a 20-year period, it is 80 times more potent at warming than carbon dioxide.”

Every 100 pounds of decomposing pumpkin in landfills releases about 8.3 pounds of methane into the air.

At least 25 percent of global warming today is driven by methane, 16 percent of which comes from waste in landfills, including rotting pumpkins.

Obviously, we see the problem of these decaying pumpkins. Rest assured, our beloved Halloween traditions will not become but a distant memory.

There are many ways to dispose of pumpkins without harming the environment. 

The best way to dispose of rotting pumpkins is by composting it. Letting it decompose into the soil is the most natural way to get rid of them. Composting them also helps create a nutrient rich soil, a good fertilizer for gardens and lawns.

Another way of preventing those old pumpkins from winding up in landfills is to keep them for you and your family. If the pumpkins haven’t rotted yet, their seeds can be baked and snacked on, and the actual fruit of the pumpkin can be eaten (or baked in a delicious pumpkin pie). Cats and dogs are both fans of pumpkin, and it is a good source of fiber (however, cats can only eat cooked pumpkin, because raw pumpkin is hard for them to digest). 

Environmentalists continue to raise awareness about the environmental impacts of pumpkin waste, and encourage individuals to discard their pumpkins in a more environmentally friendly way. 

In protecting the environment, every effort counts. An easy way to save the planet is by reducing the number of pumpkins that end up in landfills. 

In conclusion, pumpkins can still be a big part of our yearly Halloween traditions, but they need to be disposed of correctly. If they continue to pile up in landfills every year, it  will undoubtedly contribute to the future growth of global warming.

Together we can protect the planet we live on, while continuing to preserve our favorite Halloween traditions.

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