Pumpkin
Alligator File Photo

A local organization is offering a pumpkin pickup service for downtown-area residents Friday to help reduce the waste from rotting jack-o’-lanterns.

Gainesville Compost, a bicycle-powered organization that aims to turn local restaurants’ and residents’ leftover food scraps “from waste to food” will contribute the pumpkins to its compost bins that help nourish a network of local gardens.

The service is offered to those who live within a two-mile radius of downtown Gainesville. For $4, up to two pumpkins will be collected, and extra pumpkins can be collected for $2 each.

Chris Cano, the organization’s founder, will bike around the downtown area, collecting pumpkins from those who sign up at GainesvilleCompost.com/Pumpkin-Pickup.

Cano said the service takes away the nuisance of cleaning up a rotting pumpkin and also puts the waste to a better purpose than taking up space in a landfill.

“I think that it’s important to raise awareness about the problem of food waste and the local solution we offer,” Cano said.

Angela Neal, a 21-year-old UF business administration senior, said she would pay to compost a pumpkin, but she said many college students probably wouldn’t realize the importance of reducing waste.

“College students don’t have a lot of money and don’t see the value,” Neal said.

However, she said she thinks families with steady incomes will be more likely to participate.

Joseph Floyd, zero waste coordinator for UF’s Office of Sustainability, said Halloween in general creates an excessive amount of waste and that this initiative is an effective way to bring attention to that issue.

“If you can afford the pumpkin, you should be able to afford the $4,” Floyd said.

A version of this story ran on page 4 on 10/31/2013 under the headline "Locals to compost pumpkins"