The 2021 Pumpkin Smash composted over 242 tons of pumpkins. Help us compost more in 2022!
On November 5th, you will be able compost your pumpkin at one of several sites in the Chicago area. Stay tuned to see participating locations.
What is the Pumpkin Smash?
The Pumpkin Smash is an annual effort by communities to divert pumpkins from landfills by providing locations for residents to drop-off jack-o-lanterns to be composted. It is held each year the Saturday after Halloween. Don’t Trash it, Smash it!
SCARCE and the cities of Wheaton and Elmhurst hosted the first pumpkin collections in 2014, diverting 9.31 tons of pumpkins from landfills and helping to improve composting laws in Illinois. By 2021, the Pumpkin Smash grew to over 59 sites across the state.
Why Keep Pumpkins Out of the Landfill?
Composting is nature’s way of recycling with many benefits:
- Avoids landfill greenhouse gas emissions from decomposing organics (currently, landfills are the 3rd largest producers of methane in the U.S.!)
- Produces a useful, nutrient-dense soil amendment
- Pumpkins are 90% water which is great for our soil, not so good in our landfills
Since 2014 the Pumpkin Smash has…
Composted over 538 tons of pumpkins
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 410 tons of CO2e
Diverted 34,230 gallons of water from landfills
Help Compost More Pumpkins - Get Involved
Host a Pumpkin Smash
Host a Pumpkin Smash in your town to help your neighbors green their Halloween. Download our guide below.
Check out our guide to hosting your own Pumpkin Smash and sample fliers. Please note: it is specific to hosting in Illinois but similar procedures can be followed in most places.
Download the Guide
Spread the Word!
Anyone can help spread the word that pumpkins should not go into the garbage. Below are flyers and tools that make it easy for you.
- Print a flyer, and post it in your school, church, library, or any community bulletin board.
- Print Trick-or-Treat fliers, and hand out fliers with your candy.
- Share this page with your friends, business associates, and municipal leaders using email, facebook, or your favorite social media.
Our fliers are fillable forms so you can simply type in your location details. We’ve also provided space at the bottom on the letter and poster size to add logos or acknowledgements. To save fliers after adding your information, print to PDF. View a sample flier filled out.
Learn about the Pumpkin Smash in our resources below
Find a location near you:
Enter your zip code to find a location near you. Locations collect pumpkins from 9am-12pm on Saturday, Nov 5th unless otherwise specified. This list is continually updated as locations are confirmed.
Health & Safety Precautions: All attendees must wear a mask over their nose and mouth and practice social distancing. Please do not attend if you or someone in your household is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Thank you for ensuring this is a safe event!
Register your site today!
Are you hosting a Pumpkin Smash event in your community? Register your event to be added to our locator. It’s free!