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Another summer of warm days and beach weather has come and gone. As much as we all dislike the days getting shorter and temperatures dropping, fall activities like carving jack-o-lanterns are some of everyone’s favorite. It’s no wonder why fall is a favorite. After all, it brings back the pumpkins and it’s no secret that everyone loves pumpkins! Pumpkin carving, pumpkin pie, pumpkin coffee, if you can name it there’s likely a pumpkin version, including plumbing problems.
While we all love pumpkins and carving jack-o-lanterns (148 million people planned on carving pumpkins in the U.S. alone last year), each year plumbers are called to respond to countless homes for what ends up being a pumpkin related drain clog.
It’s a great time getting a group together to carve some pumpkins but let’s face it, it’s a messy job. The seeds get everywhere and the pulp seems like the perfect consistency that will just wash down the drain, right? You get some on your hands and just rinse it off with the sink faucet, no big deal.
The reality is that pumpkin pulp is slimy and soft when it’s wet but once it starts to dry it begins to harden. Fun fact: it doesn’t like to come off. Even just that little amount rinsed off your hands can cling to a small build up in your drain and create a plumbing catastrophe.
Last year Americans spent $9 Billion on pumpkins but the average American also spent nearly $5000 on home repairs and improvements. Once that pumpkin pulp begins to harden in your drain, store bought tools and drain cleaners aren’t enough, making it almost impossible to fix the issue without professional assistance. Not to mention if you own a septic system, liquid drain cleaners are on the list of what not to use to maintain a healthy septic system.
So, what can you do to make sure that this spooky season doesn’t turn into a plumbing nightmare?
After finding a super awesome design to put on your pumpkin but before diving into your pumpkin with your carving tools, place down a layer of newspaper or towels. This will make cleaning up easier and keeps your tables and floors clean in the process. Just scoop up the guts in newspaper and toss them away to reveal a perfectly clean surface underneath. Don’t forget to save the seeds!
Consider setting up a bucket filled with water prior to beginning or set up an outside water source such as a hose for rinsing pulp off of hands and carving tools.
The best part of pumpkin carving (other than seeing your artistic work glowing) is the plethora of ways pumpkins can be used. Help combat climate change by reducing waste going to landfills and recycle your pumpkin! Did you know that the entire pumpkin is edible or that pumpkins are a great contribution to your compost?
Use the seeds to create a snack for later! Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious and thanks to the creation of the internet, there are endless amounts of recipes available for whipping up your own tasty snack for later.
Have you ever had a pumpkin chip? The skin of a pumpkin is also edible though not as delicious as it’s delectable roasted seeds. Peel a pumpkin and use the skin to make pumpkin chips!
Okay so pumpkin pulp may not be good for your drains, but it’s great for making a fall recipe and you’ll be surprised how much you like it!
Once the seeds are separated from the pulp, pace it in a food processor to create a puree that can be used to cook a Fall version of any great recipe! Add it to soup, make a pumpkin milkshake, doughnuts, muffins…the pumpkin possibilities go on forever!
If you’re not into cooking or maybe your pallet just doesn’t enjoy pumpkin flavors, stick with the spooky spirit and smash your pumpkins and just let it rot! Pumpkins are great contributors to soil and compost because they are packed with nutrients.
An environmental non-profit, Scarce, aims to combat the amount of waste that is entering landfills by encouraging recycling and composting. Scarce has diverted 254 tons of pumpkins from our landfills by organizing an annual Pumpkin Smash the weekend following Halloween. What’s better than smashing pumpkins to be environmentally friendly?
If composting at home isn’t an option, consider organizing a way for your community to recycle and compost its pumpkins.
Keep your drains safe and help protect the environment this year when carving pumpkins. Avoid a haunting drain backup by keeping pumpkin away from the sink, set up an outdoor water source to rinse pulp off, and place down a barrier for easy cleanup. Try a new pumpkin recipe and maybe start composting or smash some pumpkins with the community. However you celebrate Halloween, if a plumbing nightmare is haunting you, Wind River Environmental is here to help!