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A Smashing, Sustainable Success for HRPK’s Community Compost Program!

Benefits of pumpkin smashing include: arm-pumping workouts, stress relief, squash-squashing joy—and a greener Park. On Saturday, November 3 HRPK’s Community Compost Program hosted a free family Pumpkin Smash, a fun and sustainable way for Park lovers to dispose of leftover pumpkins, and the event was a smash hit!

A young child enjoys smashing the little pumpkin to be placed in compost

More than 500 New Yorkers smashed, bashed and crushed their pumpkins in HRPK’s Chelsea Waterside Park. 90 pumpkins were smashed—totaling nearly 1,000 pounds of waste, which will be processed by HRPK’s horticultural team and turned into nutrient-rich compost used throughout the Park.

A dad helps his child smash one of the many pumpkins at Pumpkin Smash in Hudson River Park

Did you know that over a third of NYC’s garbage is organic waste, meaning it can be biodegraded into compost? Compost is a nutrient-rich soil made from decomposed organic waste like fruit and vegetable scraps and lawn clippings. Hudson River Park runs a robust composting program that recycles both food scraps (like smashed pumpkins) and horticultural waste to decompose into our very own compost.

Two volunteers help clean up all the smashed pumpkins to go into the composter in Hudson River Park

This process benefits both Hudson River Park and our community. Nutrient-rich soil promotes healthier plant beds and insulates plants during the winter by helping them retain water. Collecting horticultural and food scraps also reduces our waste stream and supports the Park’s overall sustainability.

NYC exports garbage using trucks and barges. When these trucks leave the city, they burn fossil fuels, releasing excess carbon dioxide into the air and contributing to climate change. By decreasing the amount of waste that Hudson River Park exports, we help the environment by decreasing fossil fuel consumption from waste transportation and promoting more sustainable practices.

The composting bins which are found throughout Hudson River Park

With these green benefits in mind, Hudson River Park opened a Composting Center in 2015, following a generous donation of an automated compost machine. After successfully diverting our horticultural waste from landfills, we expanded these efforts to include a Community Compost Program in partnership with NYC’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and Council Member Corey Johnson. This program encourages the community to get involved, and now at seven locations throughout the Park, community members can drop off their food scraps from 7:00 AM–7:00 PM daily.

So far in 2018, our neighbors have contributed over 50,000 pounds of food scraps at our drop-off locations. Combined with Park horticulture waste, we have diverted over 400,000 pounds of waste from our landfills—401,000 thanks to our latest smashing, sustainable celebration! Can’t get enough Pumpkin Smash?