Recycling Egg Cartons: Here’s How It’s Done

are egg cartons recyclable
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Wokandapix

Egg cartons are a common source of waste in the kitchen. But where and how to dispose of them? See the following guide on which egg cartons are recyclable.

How To Recycle Different Types of Egg Cartons

Styrofoam egg cartons cannot be recycled. They take thousands of years to biodegrade, sitting in landfills forever.
Styrofoam egg cartons cannot be recycled. They take thousands of years to biodegrade, sitting in landfills forever.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Prylarer)

Egg cartons come in a variety of different types of packaging materials, meaning they can’t all be recycled. Here are the most common types of packages you’ll encounter, and how to recycle the egg cartons once it’s time to toss them out.

Paper egg cartons: These can be recycled just like any other cardboard item you use. For local curbside recycling, just toss them in the recycling bin and you’re good to go. It’s also worthwhile to note that these types of cartons are biodegradable and compostable. If you compost at your house, throw them in the compost bin.

Tip: Want to compost, but don’t know where to start? Check out out our piece on What You Can Compost, and What You Can’t 

Plastic egg cartons: Usually, plastic egg cartons can be recycled as well. They’re typically made of plastic #1 (PETE or PET: the kind of plastic that makes up most soda and water bottles, and other plastic drinks) which most municipal recycling programs accept. Again, be sure to separate your recycling properly before setting it out on the curb. 

Styrofoam egg cartons: Generally, styrofoam cannot be recycled, and your local recycling pickup service won’t accept them. Styrofoam is an incredibly unsustainable resource, as it can need 6.000 years and more to biodegrade. However, if you find yourself needing to get rid of styrofoam egg cartons, simply throw them away in your general waste bin. Whenever possible, avoid buying styrofoam egg cartons.

Looking for more tips on how to set up a green kitchen at home? See our guide to a Zero Waste Kitchen: 8 Steps To Producing Less Trash.

Reusing Egg Cartons: Alternatives

Using egg cartons as paint palettes is a great way to reuse them!
Using egg cartons as paint palettes is a great way to reuse them!
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Darkmoon_Art)

Aside from recycling egg cartons, there are plenty of things you can do to reuse and repurpose them in your own home. Below are a few ideas:

  • Paint palettes: Cut the carton in half between the lid and bottom, and use your empty egg carton shells for painting projects.
  • Seed starters: If you’re into gardening, put a little potting soil in the empty holes and use them to start new plants.
  • As a shipping material: Egg cartons can provide an excellent layer of protection when you’re shipping fragile materials. Layer them up in a box to keep your items secure.
  • As a fire starter (only applies to paper egg cartons): If you have a fireplace or fire pit, use your paper egg cartons with small pieces of wood to get the fire started.
  • Arts and crafts: There are plenty of ways you can be creative with egg cartons. From small to big art projects, they are a great resource to have around for creative types. If you have children in your life, check out our guide to 5 Creative Egg Carton Craft Ideas For Kids.

As with any packaging material, diligence and research is required to deal with it in an eco-friendly manner. We hope this guide to recycling egg cartons helps!

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