Recycling program gives fresh life for old pumpkins  

By Jack McCarthy / Chronicle Media  


Some of the pumpkins dropped off at the Kane County composting event featured intricate carvings.  
(Photo by Jack McCarthy / Chronicle Media).

Ever wonder what is the fate of those carved Halloween pumpkins?  

Instead of heading for a landfill, Kane County recycling advocates — both official and volunteer —are turning donated pumpkins into compost that will help grow fresh fruits and vegetables on a farm that straddles the DuPage-Kane county line.   

More than 100 vehicles passed though Pushing the Envelope Farm on Averill Road in Geneva last Saturday morning and dropped off an estimated 400 pumpkins as part of an annual post-Halloween project.  

“Jack-o’-lanterns, pumpkins and decorative squashes are highly compostable, and it is a real shame to just send them to a landfill, when the nutrients they contain could instead be returned to soil that will grow more healthy food,” said Jennifer Jarland, Kane County recycling coordinator.  

It was one of two scheduled pumpkin drop offs last Saturday along with the Elgin Sustainability Commission’s second annual composting event.   

According to Kane County Recycles, pumpkins are 90 percent water and full of nutrients that are good for the soil. The 14-acre Pushing the Envelope Farm — located amid light industrial buildings and office space on Geneva’s far east side — puts the composted pumpkins to good use in their small plots.   

A volunteer tosses a donated pumpkin into a large cardboard container (top) for the next step in the process of turning pumpkins into new life through composting. (Photo by Jack McCarthy / Chronicle Media).

Most of the pumpkins were placed in oversized cardboard containers while some of the most creative were lined up along for one more Halloween season display.  

Pushing the Envelope Farm is a community farm and education center that provides hands-on educational experiences and explores the Jewish connection to the land. It offers the opportunity to experience sustainable agriculture firsthand.  






— Geneva farm gives fresh life for old pumpkins   —-