Gettting rid of Styrofoam egg cartons

I try to buy cage-free eggs. They come in cardboard instead of styrofoam, but for double the price, I have no idea if they really are cage-free. How do you really know? All the other eggs at the commissary are offered in God-forbid–styrofoam!

Now what to do with the empty styrofoam….

1) I start my garden from seed. We usually use the tiny peat pots to start them out, but because they grow root-bound, we have to cut the peat pots away in order to plant the seedlings in the ground. The peat pots can be composted, but it all seems a little wasteful, and unnecessary.

We could plant the seeds directly in the ground like my mother does, but the birds seem to snip off the leaves right as my precious seedlings begin to grow. It infuriates me.

So, this last season, I  started  them off in my styrofoam egg cartons. I used a fork to poke 4 tiny holes for drainage in each one, and successfully grew 24 carrots and 12 turnips in them. Since then, the veggies have been transplanted to the garden and are about to be picked and gobbled up! I’ll use them again this weekend when we start our seedlings for the spring garden.

2) I’ve also found a local farmer’s market that carries fresh eggs from 54 chickens at a near-by farm–a farm I can visit and see for myself that they actually roam “cage free.” I asked the farmers if they could use any extra egg cartons. Thrilled,  the woman told me, “I’ve tried using the cardboard ones. I know they’re better for the environment, but they don’t last from year to year. They fall apart on me. Those styrofoam ones really hold up.”

Since I started buying eggs from her, I haven’t bought any in styrofoam. Each week, I take back the carton she sold them in, and she sells me ones in a reused carton.

3) Before I met her, I’d boxed them up to be sent to Dolco Packaging Egg Carton Recycling Program in Lawrenceville, GA. I wrote and asked if they recycled other styrofoam, but they don’t. Only egg cartons. Anyone can send them.

Address for recycling styrofoam egg cartons.

Super light, they don’t cost much to mail. It’s an option.

So, there you go. They can be reused, repurposed, or recycled. Not ideal for zero waste, but at least we have options!


(Egg cartons can also be used for children’s crafts or as a painting palette.)
What do you do with your egg cartons? Any creative ideas?

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19 responses to “Gettting rid of Styrofoam egg cartons

  1. Great job on finding new uses for your old styrofoam. Was surprised at first when you mentioned that you were buying eggs at the commissary. We’ve been buying local eggs (here in Seattle, where they are abundant), or trading my fresh roasted coffee for my neighbors eggs. The quality difference is incredible! Can’t even consider cooking with store-bought eggs any more. Glad you found a local farmer, too.

    For seed starters, I make “pots” out of old newspaper, by wrapping the newspaper around the bottom of a Mason jar tightly, then filling with potting soil. These you can plant directly into the ground, with no initial cost, and they compost themselves.

    • I wish it were so easy to find a farm every place we go. CT had one and we lucked up here, but in both spots we rented in a rural area. I’d like to have my own chickens!
      I like the idea of the old newspaper instead of peat pots. Much cheaper!! And very creative. :) Thanks for stopping by and giving a read, tjcloutier! I’m always up for new ideas!

  2. i like the newspaper pots for growing my ‘babies’..several layers of newsprint, soy-based ink, of course. but the egg cartons which are slightly damaged do find their way to the window green-house. i put an old heating pad with a water-proof piece of old oil-cloth (table cloth) under the cartons set it on low at night and cover with loose plastic sheeting or opened bag to conserve heat and moisture.when optimal warmth is reached i cover with cloth and shut it down for the night. it gets below zero here and the sun porch is just that, if sun.

    to send jewelry or rocks and small items which need cradling, to sort nails and other tiny objects, beads, buttons etc. or to line the standard boxes and drawers where they are kept. walk around the house and imagine being totally organized in just a few steps.

    i cannot eat store bought eggs—they lack taste appeal and nutritional value. i may resort to baking, egg drop soup or casseroles, but to eat them as pure protein, i cannot unless the end of the month comes too soon…i am spoiled by the local happy chicks, my own (when i had room to raise them) were always well fed, free and productive for years. cartons go to farmers and backyard smart people.

    • Nadinesellers, how do you know if it’s soy based ink? How can you tell? That green house sounds lovely, and warm. :) You really do “baby” them, huh? I like that.
      I’ll have to try the idea of organizing things with the egg cartons too. I should take a look around the house and see what I can use one for. I’m most certainy not the most orgainzed person. I think I’m so overwhelmed because of the clutter I live in. I tell myself—Eh, I’m a writer. But that only goes so far!
      I’ve heard many people say once they go cage-free or farm-fresh, they can’t go back. I myself, can’t tell much of a differnce, but then again, my mother always said I had no taste buds.
      Your own chickens sounded very happy. Do you miss raising them?

  3. I always use toilet paper rolls for starting seeds.

    http://momphotographer.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/life.jpg

    it works great.

    and I’ve never heard that cage-free = cardboard package. interesting.

    • Mom Photographer– (My husband said yesterday, “Hey, she dropped the Polish! What’s up with that?”) :)
      Toilet paper rolls? THAT IS SO GENIUS! Because then you don’t have to cut the bottom away like with the peat pots, and they break down on their own. They do break down, right? Because those peat pots, we had to cut them completely away. They didn’t break down fast enough and the plants got root-bound. The first time we tried the garden, nothing grew. And that was why. You live and learn I guess, but I was miffed. An entire season shot.
      The commissary (military grocery store on-base) sells two types of eggs. Cage-free in cardboard and everything else in styrofoam. It’s probably just the company they use here. Yours might be completely different.

      • I actually haven’t seen styrofoam egg boxes in stores here… but I might’ve missed something. will look the next time. Still I do not believe that all of those carboard packed eggs are from cage-free chickens (taking about my area). It would be too good to be true.
        and yes… those toilet rolls break down (noramlly we feed them to our worms).
        u just need to, before putting them into the ground, cut the sides with a knife so it’s easier for the roots to get out.
        and yes, I dropped the “Polish” part. Sometimes I do that just to come back to it in a few months. Can’t stay the same for a long time ;)

  4. @ Mom Photographer—Just as long as you’re still Polish! LOL! No, I liked it in there. It made you original. I think that’s what got me looking in the first place.
    What do the stores sell your eggs in–if not in the dreaded styrofoam?
    I’ll be sure and cut the sides of the toilet rolls! Wait until I tell my hubby about my new finds from this post!

  5. I just go through a blogger identity crisis every now and then. I started my blog as somebody totally different… not momphotographer nor polish mom photographer. after that was mom photographer later I changed it to polish and now I can’t decide… .
    Anyway, going back to eggs: they sell it in cardboard boxes in here.

    and those toilet paper rolls are good for wall art as well:

    http://www.designsponge.com/2009/11/diy-project-toilet-paper-roll-wall-art.html
    :)

  6. Nice job buying eggs from a real farm! I’ve been trying to talk my parents into getting a few chickens for their farm.

  7. i see that toilet paper rolls are a fine source of decor and entertainment, the home spiders should be happy to wait for tiny invisible insects in there.
    the connection keeps growing and webbing through our online lives this is true positive grass root system.
    this is how the foundation to improvement becomes solid in a precarious society.

  8. Love all the ideas I’ve read hear, both the styrofoam egg cartons and toilet paper rolls. I’ll be trying them both!

  9. Pingback: Nature Art Sculpture Part Four | One Little Caterpillar Munch! Munch! Munch!

  10. Pingback: Thrifty-tip Thursday « Easy-Going Organizer

  11. Pingback: Reusing items to plant seeds. | Attempting zero waste lifestyle in a military household

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