Almost every family has eggs in their daily diet. And eggs come with egg cartons. As a result, figuring out what to do with used egg cartons is a common problem for every family. The first question that comes to mind is: can you recycle egg cartons?
Egg cartons are normally reusable, especially if they contain paper. You can easily recycle egg cartons by using a local curbside pickup service. However, finding a styrofoam egg carton recycling facility is difficult. The petroleum-based polystyrene in the cartons makes them difficult to recycle, thus most recycling plants tend to avoid them.
In this article, I discussed all the aspects of recycling egg cartons. Here I elaborate on the methods of recycling different egg cartons. Besides, you will find some suggestions for reusing egg cartons at your home.
So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.
Are Egg Cartons Recyclable?
The majority of the egg cartons you come across in the shopping malls are made from paper byproducts and are easily recyclable.
However, some egg cartons have styrofoam in them. Most recycling facilities do not accept it as input material.
Recycling Paper Egg Cartons
You will not face any problem in recycling paper egg cartons since all of the recycling centers of the world will accept them without hesitation.
Manufacturers use recycled materials to make pulp paper egg cartons. So, they can be easily re-recycled.
All you need to do about the biodegradable egg carton is put it in the recycling bin like any other trash paper.
However, you should check for the universal recycling symbol on the egg carton package. Recycling workers will take your paper-made egg cartons and turn them into another form of paper after making pulps out of them.
Recycling Plastic Egg Cartons
Most of the plastic egg cartons are recyclable. You have to put them in the specific recycle bin dedicated to plastic items.
However, you cannot recycle some plastic-made egg cartons if their plastic fibers are already damaged. Usually, you can recycle plastic, not more than twice.
However, recycling plastic-made egg cartons can take more energy and water than recycling paper-made egg cartons. That is why many recycling points do not accept plastic egg cartons.
You should contact your local curbside service to know their policy regarding plastic egg cartons.
You Can Hardly Recycle Styrofoam Egg Cartons
Using Stacked Polystyrene or styrofoam to produce egg cartons has become a common practice. The reason is the ease of transporting and handling fragile items like eggs in Styrofoam-made packages.
You may not recycle them in a regular recycling center because most recycling plants do not accept any items with Styrofoam.
Manufacturers use petroleum-based polystyrene to manufacture Styrofoam.
Technically, polystyrene is recyclable. However, the recycling process is very long and expensive. That is why recycling plants avoid processing Styrofoam egg cartons to save their resources.
In most cases, curbside services also do not accept styrofoam egg cartons. However, there can be dedicated recycling plants to recycle polystyrene items.
Only a few municipalities have this type of facility. So, it is always wise to avoid buying eggs in Styrofoam cartons, keeping in mind the hassle they can cause while recycling.
Different Ways to Recycle Egg Cartons
You have to clean the egg cartons properly no matter which method you follow to recycle them. It is very likely for an egg carton to have egg remnants, which can be a problem for the recycling process.
Local Curbside Pickup
The most common method for recycling egg cartons is the local curbside pickup. You may ask your local curbside pickup service for their policies regarding recycling egg cartons. Different curbside service providers may have distinct requirements for cleaning egg cartons.
Every locality has its own schedule for curbside pickup. You have to prepare your egg cartons before the scheduled pickup time.
You may find local grocery shops, cooperative farms, or egg retailers to arrange or participate in a take-back program.
Take-back programs are a great concept where the producers take back the recyclable or reusable parts of the products for a minimum price or discounts.
The takeback program is a win-win solution for both the consumer and the producers. The consumer does not need to worry about recycling the package or the unused part of the product.
On the other hand, the producer can reuse the items to reduce his future production costs. Besides, take-back programs also help save the environment from pollution.
You may start searching for a take-back program at the local farmers’ market. Most likely, the farmers will gladly accept the egg cartons for reuse.
Some local grocery stores also have similar programs. Furthermore, some large egg farms have programs that pay consumers to ship egg cartons to them.
How To Reuse Egg Cartons?
If you fail to find a way to recycle your egg carton, you should think of ways to reuse it. Here are some ideas for utilizing egg cartons for different purposes.
For Your Compost
A significant part of the paper is carbon. If your egg carton is made with paper, you can use the carbon in it as a part of high-quality compost for your garden.
Simply tear down the paper egg cartons into pieces and mix them with the “brown” part of the compost mixture.
The mixture will become a good compost within days if you cover the paper mix with a layer of coffee grounds and vegetable waste.
You can use them in your garden or flower tub for the excellent vegetative growth of the plants.
For Packaging Utensils
You can make utensil packing more convenient by using egg cartons. You can put the egg cartons around the crockery in the box to ensure all of them remain intact.
So, save the egg cartons in a safe place for your future packaging instead of polluting the environment by throwing them around.
For Making Pet Cushions
Another great way to use egg cartons is to make cushions for your pets. For that, you will need to shred the egg cartons into small pieces. Your pets will love their new comfort zone.
All of your house pets will enjoy playful times with the new cushions. All you need to do is put the egg carton pieces into a cotton bag and sew them.
In winter, put pieces of the egg carton around your plants in the garden. It will save them from freezing temperatures.
On a dry day, you can also retain moisture in your garden by sprinkling the shredded egg cartons on top of the tree roots.
You have to use egg cartons made from paper since the paper is compostable when using egg cartons in your garden. Otherwise, plastic-made egg cartons will hamper your gardening.
Make Kindling Sticks
You can stuff your shredded egg cartons into used paper towel rolls and make kindling sticks. You need to twist one side of the paper tube to close it and put as much shredded egg carton as you can into the roll.
Use your new innovative kindling stick to ignite the fireplace or the coals of your oven. You may find the new kindling stick as handy as any other kindling stick available on the market.
Create Seed Bombs
A revolutionary idea for rapid forestation is Seed bombs.
You can easily use your egg cartons as an element of a seed bomb. For that, you need to put a few shredded egg cartons and two cups of hot water in a blender.
After keeping them soaked for 10 minutes, you have to blend them at a medium pace. You have to strain the water from the pulp and add five grams of seeds.
Give the pulp the shape of a ball in your hands. After letting the balls rest for some hours, you will get your seed bombs. You may use them immediately.
Make New Paper Sheets
You can also make recycled paper from egg cartons at home.
For that, you have to get your shredded egg cartons in a blender and keep them soaked with water for a while. After blending them for a minute, you need to pour the mixture into a framed glass or window screen.
You have to make sure that the mixture is spread evenly on the glass frame. If needed, place another glass sheet on top of the previous glass.
Keep the glass in the sun for some hours, and you will get a piece of rough paper. The paper may not be good for writing, but it is great for art projects.
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Now you know the answer to the question- can you recycle egg cartons? It is always a good idea to purchase eggs in an egg carton that can be easily recycled at a nearby facility. It saves you a great deal of time and work.
However, before you recycle an egg carton, consider reusing it at home. Hope this article was able to quench your curiosity. Until next time, farewell.