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.
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?
- Uses for Egg Cartons (foxnews.com)
- Use an Egg Carton to Jumpstart Your Garden this Spring [Clever Uses] (lifehacker.com)
- Store Holiday Ornaments in Egg Cartons [Holidays] (lifehacker.com)
- Smart Egg Lamp: A Quirky Lighting Solution Made from a Recycled Egg Carton! (inhabitat.com)
- Free Run, Free Range, Cage Free-What Does It All Mean? (plowinginpearls.wordpress.com)