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This time of year we put pumpkins in everything. We have it in our lattes, cookies, cereal – even our deodorant and pizza. But let’s not forget you can spice up your leaf piles with pumpkins, too!

Streets Division crews are out now performing curbside yard waste collection. The crews are picking up leaves and other yard and garden debris such as weeds, corn stalks, vines, straw, and yes, pumpkins. Pumpkins contain valuable nutrients and should be composted rather than sent to the landfill.

When placing leaves and other yard waste to the curb for collection, pile that material on the terrace or at the street edge. If you choose to bag your yard waste in compostable paper bags or plastic bags, be sure to leave them open at the top so crews can identify what is inside. And never put your leaves and yard waste piles directly in the street.

Leaves in the street create phosphorous run-off that contributes to algae blooms and weed growth in our lakes.  Plus, the piles in the street could wash away and clog neighborhood storm drains, leading to street ponding issues. By keeping your leaf and yard waste piles out of the street you are helping prevent these problems. Again, do not place your leaf and yard waste piles in the street. Keep them on your terrace or road edge while awaiting collection.

When placing your pumpkins and other decorative gourds out for yard waste collection, please set them on top of your leaf pile or leaf bags. Be sure to remove any non-compostable decorations you may have used in your jack-o-lanterns such as tea candles or electric lights.

City of Madison residents may also bring their pumpkins and other yard waste material to one of the Streets Division’s drop-off sites. The sites are located at 1501 W. Badger Rd., 4602 Sycamore Ave, and 402 South Point Rd. The sites are presently open from 8:30am to 4:30pm seven days a week and until 8:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These hours will remain in effect until 4:30pm on Sunday, December 3.

If you are a home composter, don’t forget that you can spice up your backyard compost bin with pumpkins, too. Pumpkins are a great source of nitrogen, and a good way to offset carbon from fallen leaves.

Residents can learn more about curbside yard waste collection on the Streets Division’s yard waste website. While visiting the site, residents can use the newly upgraded pickup schedule map to learn where crews are working and when to pile material at the curb to ensure collection. Collection time estimates are also available by calling our hotline at 608-267-2088, or the Streets Division office that services your home. If you live west of S. Park Street, you should call the west side office at 608-266-4681, and if you live east of S. Park Street, including the isthmus, you should call 608-246-4532.