The Great Pumpkin Rescue Gives New Life to Old Jack-o-lanterns

Once again, all the elementary schools in the district participated in the annual Great Pumpkin Rescue. Pumpkins cannot be disposed of as yard waste since they are considered food. Pumpkins and gourds are heavy and water-filled, so putting them into the trash to be incinerated is not ideal and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Composting pumpkins takes them out of the waste system and allows them to be naturally processed for helping gardens, trees, and new food to grow.

Since the town’s drop-off compost program, known as FIDO, does not accept pumpkins, the district works with Black Earth Compost to make sure the gourds are taken away and turned into a valuable soil amendment. This is the vendor who collects school food waste. Each school designated a drop-off location on either November 2 or 3 that was staffed by volunteers.

Now in its sixth year, the Rescue is a much anticipated event and the Arlington school communities responded with enthusiasm. This year, Black Earth Compost collection trucks took away approximately 27 cubic yards and over seven tons of pumpkins. 

This is a great way to give new life to old jack-o-lanterns and seasonal gourds. The Great Pumpkin Rescue is spearheaded  by Arlington’s School Sustainability Coordinator Rachel Oliveri with support from the individual elementary Green Teams and the Arlington DPW.