Composting Your Egg Cartons
Compost, black gold, the stuff of garden dreams. But how far can you take your compost? Can you put kitchen trash, as well as kitchen scraps in the bin? More specifically, can you compost your egg cartons?
Egg cartons typically come in one of three varieties: cardboard or paper, styrofoam, or plastic. The styrofoam and plastic types of egg cartons are not compostable as they will not break down. The cardboard and paper ones are compostable.
To compost your cardboard and paper egg cartons, you'll need to cut them down into small pieces. Because of their three dimensional sizes and shape, paper shredders (which you can use for other paper compostables) won't work here. But no worries, just take your handy scissors or box cutter and cut the carton down into small pieces. You can even tear it if all else fails. Soaking it in water will help as well.
Are Paper Egg Cartons Biodegradable?
Yes, they are, which is why you can compost them. The process of biodegradation is simply nature's way of returning materials to organic material. Cardboard is dissolved by bacteria, consumed by microorganisms, and returned to a natural state. In your case, it turns into compost for your garden.
Are Cardboard Egg Cartons Recyclable?
You love the idea of composting more than your waste scraps, but maybe you have a tiny compost bin like this one that only holds 18.5 gallons. If you always buy eggs in cardboard, can you recycle them if you've run out of room in your bin?
Yes, if you keep the carton clean, you can recycle them. However, if you crack your eggs and return the eggshells to the carton, the cardboard is considered to be contaminated with food waste and is no longer recyclable. But if that does happen, save it until you can fit it in your composter.
Are Plastic Egg Containers Recyclable?
Of the other two types of egg containers, plastic and styrofoam, only plastic is recyclable. Styrofoam, unfortunately, goes straight to the landfill. But plastic egg cartons, which are often made of recycled plastic themselves, can be put into your plastics recycling. But they can also be given new life with reuse.
One thing that can help with recycling is to have a great organization system. Luckily there are so many options out there for easy sorting. This four bin set is fantastic because it has velcro to join each bag, but they are easy to separate. Each bag has handles for loading up in the car or taking to bigger bins to empty. And because your plastic egg bins stack, they'll go in the plastic section easily.
What Can I Do With Old Egg Cartons?
You've composted your cardboard cartons, but what to do with all of the plastic or styrofoam cartons? There are many ways to give old egg cartons a new life.
If you have a friend who is an elementary art teacher, egg cartons can be used for paint trays. They can be cut up to make egg carton crafts. This kit comes with the ideas and paints and brushes needed; all you provide is the cartons.
Reusing Egg Cartons For The Garden
In the garden, you can use your old cartons to sort and organize your seeds. You can even use egg cartons to start seedlings. Add some seed starter and your seed, and voila, you have a handy little pot for each seedling. Seed starters are explicitly mixed to create a super environment for young seedlings to give their roots a good start into the world.
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The Final Word On Composting Egg Cartons
Remember, there are three types of cartons: paper, plastic, and styrofoam. Only paper can be composted. And only paper and plastic can be recycled. Styrofoam, unfortunately, goes straight to the landfill. Keep these in mind when you're purchasing eggs so that you can make great compost and be good to the earth.
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