Smashing pumpkins: Winnipeggers toss their Halloween gourds to help stem climate change


Shrieks and giggles stuffed the air on Saturday as Winnipeggers lined up to pitch withered Halloween pumpkins off the CF Polo Park parkade, blowing off steam whereas maintaining tonnes of the large orange greens from going to waste.

“It’s one other enjoyable exercise for the kids with the pumpkins, after all of the candies are gone and the sugar rushes are over,” mentioned Jill Parsonage, who got here with a number of smiling children in tow.

“And it is an effective way to keep away from having extra waste go into the landfill.”

Hosted by Compost Winnipeg, the second annual Pumpkin Drop additionally raised cash for year-round composting packages across the metropolis.

Winnipeggers of all ages giggled and shrieked with delight as they hurled withered jack-o’-lanterns right into a truck parked beneath the CF Polo Park parkade, a few ten-metre drop. (Darin Morash/CBC)

Sylvia Girouard introduced her youngest grandson, Matthew, who shoved their barely shrivelled jack-o’-lantern off the sting of the two-storey parking construction. It splattered pumpkin mush and stringy seeds right into a one-tonne truck parked beneath.

“It was actually enjoyable,” mentioned Matthew, 8, his eyes lighting up with a shy, gleeful grin. “It felt actually satisfying when it fell.”

“Yeah, you broke my pumpkin!” Girouard chuckled loudly.

She was particularly happy an enormous pile of the pumpkins will help feed animals at Little Red Barn Sanctuary in Oakville, Man.

“Pumpkins are very dietary, I’m actually glad they’re doing that,” mentioned Girouard.

Eight-year-old Christian Dela Cruz was one of many occasion’s youngest volunteers and helped kind pumpkins into edible and non-edible piles. (Darin Morash/CBC)

Eight-year-old volunteer Christian Dela Cruz helped kind the colorful fall squashes into edible and non-edible piles.

“All those that aren’t broken, we’re placing them into this truck,” mentioned the boy, who tossed miniature, ornamental pumpkins right into a pickup parked on the roof.

“It’s good to give the cattle completely different meals to eat,” he added.

Bringing consideration to ‘hierarchy of meals waste’

Fresh pumpkins that had been by no means painted or pierced had been put aside for organizations, together with Community Helpers Unite Inc. and the Leftovers Foundation, to be made into puree and cooked into meals. 

Those already carved into jack-o’-lanterns had been checked for candles and different particles, then tossed into the bin, about 10 metres beneath.

“There’s so many issues that we’re doing with this occasion,” mentioned Karrie Blackburn from Compost Winnipeg, a social enterprise run by the Green Action Centre. 

Karrie Blackburn with Compost Winnipeg says diverting pumpkins from the landfill can help produce meals and scale back methane emissions. (Darin Morash/CBC)

“Firstly, maintaining pumpkins out of the landfill. Secondly, we’re bringing consideration to the hierarchy of meals waste,” she mentioned, including the group would not need natural objects instantly despatched to the compost pile both.

“There’s alternatives to feed folks by upcycling these pumpkins into meals,” mentioned Blackburn.

The group can be taking money donations to fund a compost service for a neighborhood non-profit, but to be decided. Money raised at final yr’s Pumpkin Drop helped launch a compost program at Bruce Oake Recovery Centre.

“They began composting with us in July,” mentioned Blackburn, “they usually’ve already diverted over 3,000 kilograms of waste, and are up to 4 bins on a weekly assortment schedule.” 

She mentioned the 2021 occasion amassed roughly 24,000 kilograms of pumpkins, which Compost Winnipeg estimates to be about 10 per cent of all of the Halloween pumpkins purchased in Manitoba final yr.

A truck mattress beneath the parkade rapidly stuffed up with splattered pumpkins, as tens of 1000’s of kilograms of the large, orange gourds had been anticipated to be diverted from the landfill. (Darin Morash/CBC)

Blackburn mentioned that is a considerable achievement, since pumpkins that find yourself in landfills do not correctly decompose, with outcomes which will come again to haunt us.

“Without oxygen current, you do not have all these good microbes,” she mentioned. “This means the pumpkin will go septic. It produces a really highly effective greenhouse fuel, methane, which as everyone knows is an enormous contributing issue to climate change.”

Turning the bulbous greens into compost as an alternative presents further advantages, mentioned Blackburn.

“That compost can go to be a soil modification, or can really be utilized in landfill remediation,” she defined, saying metropolis dumps cope with waste by alternating layers of rubbish and filth, virtually like a large lasagna.

Blackrun mentioned compost is a greater different to what’s usually utilized in that course of now.

“Not solely does it stop us from having to use topsoil, which isn’t a renewable useful resource, it additionally sequesters emissions that do come out of our landfills.”

City composting pilot led to September

Compost Winnipeg lately received funding from town to help increase its residential and industrial assortment companies.

The City of Winnipeg wrapped up its residential meals waste assortment pilot program in September, with a report to be delivered to metropolis council subsequent yr.

Blackburn hopes councillors act swiftly towards a citywide compost assortment program.

“We’re a few decade behind most main cities when it comes to natural waste diversion,” she mentioned, including that pickup service for single-family properties is at the very least a number of years away.

In the meantime, Winnipeggers can join Compost Winnipeg’s assortment program for about $35 per 30 days.

Blackburn mentioned about 40 per cent of family waste is natural matter that might be composted, thereby practically doubling the lifetime of landfills whereas lowering methane emissions.

“It’s a really small step which you could make in your day-to-day life to have a direct impression on preserving the longevity of our planet,” she mentioned.


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