MADISON, NJ -  What do you do with your pumpkins after the holidays? The Borough of Madison has come up with an idea.

Instead of throwing them away, recycle them. An innovative project between the Madison Environmental Commission, the Department of Public Works and Vacchiano Farm, LLC will work together to recycle the pumpkins to feed cows and other farm animals.

Pumpkins, including those that have been carved into jack o’ lanterns, can be taken to Madison Department of Public Works (34 John Avenue) on two separate weekends. The first collection will occur after Halloween on November 9 and 10, with the second collection occurring after Thanksgiving on December 7 and 8. Recycled pumpkins will be collected by Vacchiano Farm, and used as food for farm animals, and compost for fields.

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“Pumpkins should not be bleached, painted or varnished,” notes Elizabeth Vacchiano, a third generation member of Madison’s venerable farm family. “Decayed or moldy pumpkins are fine to be recycled - we’ll compost those as fertilizer in our fields."

Cows love pumpkins, explaines Vacchiano. “Pumpkins have sugar in them. We do not typically feed our animals pumpkins through the year, so the cows, sheep, turkeys and chickens get excited about a novel treat.”

Ken O’Brien, Superintendent of the Department of Public Works considers the pumpkin recycling project an innovative way to cut food waste.

“Madison already accepts pumpkins as part of our yard waste,” O’Brien explains. “This project puts the pumpkins to work as food and compost, while reducing the DPW workload.”


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