Can You Recycle Egg Cartons? And Ways to Reuse

Can you recycle egg cartons?

Egg cartons are probably one of the most common items found in refrigerators anywhere. Who doesn’t love eggs for breakfast? Egg cartons are an interesting feat of product engineering because this simple container must be designed to protect a dozen eggs in transit, be a canvas for nutrition information, while being as lightweight, sustainable, and inexpensive as possible.

Can You Really Recycle Egg Cartons?

Yes, in most municipalities in the U.S. and Canada, egg cartons are recyclable. But the details come down to the material of the egg carton and your local recycling company’s capabilities.

What are the different types of Egg Cartons?

1. Paper Pulp Egg Cartons

Pulp egg cartons are the most popular containers at the grocery store. They score high on sustainability because these cartons are made of recycled paper, and sometimes grass is blended into the mix. The benefits of pulp egg cartons include being very inexpensive to manufacture, and that these cartons are biodegradable.
How to recycle: Pulp egg cartons can be added into your compost pile, if your municipality collects compost. Unsoiled paper pulp cartons can be placed in the blue recycling bin.

2. Clear PET Plastic Egg Cartons

Polyethylene Terephthalate plastic egg cartons are the clear ones at the grocery store. These are very convenient because you can see the condition of the eggs without having to open the carton. PET egg cartons are also popular because they are cheap to manufacture, and this plastic material can be recycled up to seven times in most areas.
How to recycle: Add to your recycling bin, clear plastic cartons are widely recyclable.

3. Polystyrene Foam Egg Cartons

Foam egg cartons are made from plastic beads that are heated and molded into a carton shape. Foam egg cartons are the most problematic of all common carton types because many municipalities are unable to recycle them. If recycling is not an option in your area, consider buying eggs in pulp or clear plastic cartons instead.
How to recycle: Add to your recycling bin, if possible. But to find out if your local recycling company’s ability to process foam egg cartons. Alternatively, some supermarkets accept foam egg cartons for recycling, check with your local grocery store.

How Can You Upcycle Egg Cartons?

Even the best recycling programs can’t reclaim all of the raw materials. What if you want to give your egg cartons a second life after the eggs are consumed? Here are some creative uses for your egg cartons:

Egg Carton Planters

Use the biodegradable paper pulp egg cartons as seed planters. Photo credit: houseplantcetra on Instagram.

Egg Carton as a Versatile Material for DIY Crafts

Paper pulp egg cartons are a perfect material for arts and crafts. The material is easy to shape and paint into creative art projects. Photo credit: on Instagram.

Egg Carton as a Paint Palette

Any egg carton material is suitable for use as a paint palette for your next painting. Photo credit: thecolorfulartroom on Instagram.

Further reading

What are egg cartons made of?Sauder’s Eggs

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