The kitchen is the best place to make small changes if you are looking to reduce waste and recycle better.
Whether you are baking a cake, preparing pancakes, or getting ready for Easter, you will always find eggs in the kitchen.
Since eggs are an integral part of our diets, it is an understood fact that thousands of egg cartons are thrown away or end up being recycled.
People also sometimes find a second use for these egg cartons. According to a survey, each American consumes about 270 eggs annually.
Are Egg Cartons Recyclable?
Yes, most egg cartons can be recycled. If you want to recycle your egg cartons, you should opt for paper egg cartons.
Paper cartons are made up of molded pulp, which is a cheaper option and is thought to be a sustainable source.
The pulp material is already made up of recycled material, so it is an environmentally friendly option.
Paper-Based Egg Cartons
Paper cartons can also be used at home before one throws them into a recycling bin. These paper cartons can be used in the kitchen or in the garden to plant small plants.
Paper cartons also take a lot less time to decompose than the plastic ones-they only taking two to four weeks. The plastic cartons can take up to 1000 years to decompose.
Paper egg cartons are usually brought down to a pulp and then recycled back into new egg cartons and or other forms of paper products.
However, some paper egg cartons cannot be recycled as their fibers have reached a certain level and cannot be broken down beyond that point.
Styrofoam Egg Cartons
Another popular material that is used for egg cartons is Styrofoam or polystyrene. This is not a sustainable material at all to be used for recycling.
Styrofoam is basically a Petro-Chemical product, and the environment is harmed in its production. It is widely used to transport food from one place to another.
It is also used in the construction industry but unfortunately cannot be recycled.
Styrofoam takes 500 years to biodegrade. Some people tend to collect these, and when they have a bulk quantity, they sell it on eBay.
Sometimes egg cartons cannot be recycled if they have been contaminated. For example, if they have the remains of the eggs that were delivered in them or if they are greasy.
Plastic Egg Cartons
Plastic cartons can also be recycled. They may already be made from recycled material such as used soda bottles.
However, recycling plastic egg cartons can be difficult and costly as it uses enormous amounts of water and energy.
Plastic has one added benefit over paper cartons- they can be used multiple times before being sent for recycling. These plastic cartons are made from Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET).
So, this material can be recycled up to seven times.
These cartons are very popular in the market as they provide clear visibility of the eggs and labeling. These can also be made from recycled PET, which saves a lot of energy.
The plastic egg cartons can also be used for storage and art supplies.
Also read: Are Egg Shells Biodegradable?
Uses of Egg Cartons
If your egg cartons cannot be recycled or if you are looking for ways to use them before disposing of them, you can use them for other purposes, especially around the house.
All you have to do is get creative.
If your egg cartons are made with cardboard, and you are looking for ways to dispose of them, we would suggest that you compost them.
Egg cartons are made from a brown material that is rich in carbon. This helps balance out carbon-rich things in your compost pile.
We know what you are thinking- if you throw your egg cartons away, they will break down the landfill. However, composting them is a better option.
Egg cartons only break down when they have good aeration. This is not provided by a landfill.
You can also plant seedlings in egg cartons. All you have to do is add soil and seeds and then provide what is required for them to grow.
If your egg cartons cannot be recycled, this is a great way to use them around the house. You can also paint them or get your children to draw on them with markers.
Place these around the house with little plants or seasonal flowers to freshen your surroundings.
Use as a Paint Palate
On the brighter side, there are many uses of egg cartons, such as holding paint. If you or someone in your family has an artistic side, they can use these egg cartons as paint palates.
After all, what better way to keep paint separated than by storing each paint individually in an egg carton?
Egg cartons are perfect in size to hold small amounts of paint. The paints will not mix or fall out.
This is especially great if you have kids around the house who are still learning how to mix paint.
Egg cartons can be used for storage purposes – you could store nuts in them, or if you play golf, you could store your golf balls in them.
The egg cartons can provide protection for them as they have separate compartments.
You can also use egg cartons to store small pieces of jewelry, such as earrings and necklaces. They can easily fit in your drawer and hold all your precious pieces.
You can even decorate them with a bit of color to make them stand out.
Sell Them to a Farmer
If you live in the suburbs, then you could find a chicken farmer nearby and sell your egg cartons to him.
As long as the cartons are not contaminated and are not in bad condition, any farmer would happily buy them from you.
This will allow you to earn some money and feel good about yourself since the cartons you sold will be reused for new eggs. Talk about saving the environment!
A good thing about egg cartons is that they provide protection to eggs and keep them safe from breaking.
Keeping this feature in mind, you could use the cartons to transport small items such as baked goods or even small valuables from one place to another.
Instead of purchasing cupcake holders, all you have to do is keep your egg cartons safe and clean and use them to hold the cupcakes. An added benefit is that the icing will not get spoilt.
One of the best ways to use egg cartons is by transforming them into packaging peanuts. All you have to do is crumple up the foam.
Once the foam has been crumpled, you can use it to protect your shipments. You can do the same with cardboard egg cartons, but it may not be as effective.
This method can be used to keep delicate belongings safe in a suitcase as well.
When traveling, it is likely that perfume bottles might break. However, this method will keep everything safe and in place.
Donate to a Primary School
If none of the options above suit you, you could always donate these cartons to a primary school or any school in your area.
Schools often give projects to students that involve egg cartons. Students are then asked to get creative. They can draw on them, sew on them, or simply paint them in their art class.
All you have to do is call up a school and see if they are interested in taking these cartons from you.
Also read: Are Kleenex Boxes Recyclable?
Why is it Important to Recycle Egg Cartons?
Humans produce too much waste, and we feel guilty about it because we think we don’t have any other option.
However, it is always nice to give back to the environment by reusing or recycling things.
Egg cartons provide us with a lot of ways to give back to society. Only a few types of egg cartons can be recycled, but it is better to recycle them instead of throwing them away.
If you choose to compost your egg containers or find an alternative way to use them, you are playing your part in giving back to the environment.
You also reduce the amount of waste that is produced on a daily basis.
With the increasing population, eggs are becoming an important part of peoples’ lives. The consumption of eggs is growing each day.
So, we can make the best use out of these egg cartons instead of throwing them away by figuring out how to recycle or reuse them.
Using these egg cartons thoughtfully and responsibly will help the environment remain healthy and keep it protected.
The next time you go grocery shopping, pick eggs that come in packaging that can be recycled or reused.
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