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C-U residents smash pumpkins to curb climate change

A child throws a piece of a pumpkin at a cement wall at the Landscape Recycling Center in Urbana as part of the Champaign County Environmental Stewards' annual Pumpkin Smash event on Nov. 4.

The Champaign County Environmental Stewards turned post-Halloween cleanup into a community event on Saturday with their second annual Pumpkin Smash. 

Residents tossed their pumpkins against a cement wall at the Landscape Recycling Center in Urbana, turning potential landfill waste into compost that will later be sold at the center.

“It’s important to divert some of this organic waste from going into the landfill. Because in the landfill, it creates greenhouse gases that are released, particularly methane, versus being composted with oxygen and other organic matter,” said Grace Wilken, a board member of the Environmental Stewards. 

The City of Urbana funded the event, and Students for Environmental Concerns collected pumpkins on the UIUC campus to bring to the event. 

Many families came to smash pumpkins together. Urbana resident Jill Graves watched as her two children smashed pumpkins by jumping on them. This is her family’s second time participating in the event, she said.

Graves said the event is great not only because it’s good for the environment but also because her children love it.

“They asked actually a couple of weeks ago if they were going to get to destroy the pumpkins again,” Graves said. 

The group also held a residential leaf pickup that turned fallen leaves into compost; the pumpkin scraps will be mixed into the leaf compost from this event. 

People who missed the event can drop off pumpkins at the Landscape Recycling Center in Urbana for a small fee.

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Illinois Student Newsroom

Illinois Student Newsroom

At the IPM Student Newsroom, journalism students from the U of I's College of Media work alongside professional journalists -- public radio reporters, editors and producers -- to produce multimedia stories on issues affecting east-central Illinois. Follow us on Instagram: @illinoisstudentnewsroom

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