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City of Coralville News

Posted on: October 16, 2023

Be Green After Halloween: Put Pumpkins in Yard Waste or Compost

Rotting pumpkin

After Halloween celebrations and fall festivities are over, dispose of your pumpkins and gourds properly: put them in your yard waste, and not the trash. 

  1. First, remove non-organic decorations like candles. 
  2. Then, place pumpkins and gourds in a Coralville yard waste bag, or container with an annual yard waste sticker, for pickup on your trash/recycling day. 

Remember that full yard waste bags and containers cannot weigh over 40 pounds.  

Why pumpkins and gourds do not belong in the trash
When a pumpkin or gourd gets tossed in the garbage it winds up in the landfill. There, it gets buried under waste, decomposes without oxygen, and emits methane—a greenhouse gas. But, when pumpkins and gourds are placed in your yard waste or your compost pile, they decompose aerobically -- with oxygen.

Other uses for pumpkins
If you're looking for something to do with leftover pumpkins or gourds, you can turn those ghastly gourds into something good: compost. Pumpkins are 90% water and decompose easily, so they're an ideal addition toward a nutrient-rich compost mix. Remove the seeds and cut the pumpkin into pieces for quicker breakdown in your compost pile. If you don't have a composter, remove the seeds and cut pumpkins and gourds into smaller pieces to mix under your garden soil. Pumpkins and gourds can also be a treat for backyard critters, however, painted pumpkins should not be given to animals.

For more information about what can go in your yard waste bin, contact the Coralville Streets and Solid Waste Department at 319.248.1740 or visit

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