When Halloween’s over, don’t pitch your pumpkins

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When Halloween’s over, don’t pitch your pumpkins

To reduce landfill waste, compost that holiday gourd
Joe Wheeling with James Ranch holds decorative pumpkins Tuesday, with pie pumpkins on the shelves behind him. Of the 1,000 or so pumpkins grown on the ranch’s 1-acre patch north of Durango each year, about 800 are edible.
An annual drop-off for pumpkins started four years ago to help avoid human-bear conflicts. Now, it’s a good way to reduce waste, local officials say.

When Halloween’s over, don’t pitch your pumpkins

Joe Wheeling with James Ranch holds decorative pumpkins Tuesday, with pie pumpkins on the shelves behind him. Of the 1,000 or so pumpkins grown on the ranch’s 1-acre patch north of Durango each year, about 800 are edible.
An annual drop-off for pumpkins started four years ago to help avoid human-bear conflicts. Now, it’s a good way to reduce waste, local officials say.
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Pumpkin drop-off sites

The city of Durango Sustainability Division is partnering with the Good Food Collective, Bear Smart Durango, town of Bayfield and Colorado State University Extension Office to host the annual, free pumpkin drop-off from noon to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at La Plata County Fairgrounds, 2500 Main Ave., or Eagle Park, 1189 Bayfield Parkway.
Residents may drop off jack-o’-lanterns and other festive fruits at both locations. Leaves will be accepted only at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.
Pumpkins and fruits should be free of candles, wax, paint and bleach. These will be donated to local farmers and ranchers to use as animal feed. This is a more sustainable, and safer, option than tossing rotting pumpkins in the trash or leaving them on porches, where they can attract bears. Pumpkins not eaten by bears typically end up in landfills where they break down slowly, releasing greenhouse gases.
Unsprayed leaves (no walnut, cottonwood or aspen leaves) will be accepted at the La Plata County Fairgrounds location. The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado will use the leaves as mulch.
For more information, email Imogen.Ainsworth@DurangoGov.org or visit www.DurangoGov.org/sustainability.

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