Madison County collected 3.9 tons of pumpkins and gourds earlier this month during its second annual Great Pumpkin Purge.
“The Pumpkin Purge is part of Madison County’s recycling program’s community outreach and public education efforts,” Madison County Resource Education Coordinator Eve Drueke stated in a press release.
The event was held Nov. 4 at Highland Elementary School and Alton Middle School.
“County residents were invited to bring old pumpkins, gourds and jack o’ lanterns for composting, rather than being placed in local landfills,” Drueke stated.
Illinois produces the largest number of pumpkins in the country.
Food waste occupies as much as 14 percent of landfill space, according to the release.
Those who participated in the Great Pumpkin Purge received information on reducing food waste and services available to them as county residents. There were also games and prizes for the youth who participated in the event.
This year’s event saw an increase in demand than last year.
“We collected four times the amount over last year,” Drueke stated.
Drueke added that the Madison County Planning and Development is thankful for the staff from the two schools and for the sponsors– Joe’s Market Basket, Duke’s Baker, St. Louis Composting and Allied Services.