Egg cartons are made from different materials. I am sure we are all familiar with the cardboard egg cartons and the Styrofoam egg cartons.
Some have printed wrappers. Which egg cartons can be composted?
Are Egg Cartons Compostable?
Egg cartons made from cardboard or paper pulp can be composted.
It is an easy process for the home composter.
Wet the carton first, tear into pieces and add to the compost bin.
Plastic and Styrofoam egg cartons cannot be composted.
What Are Egg Cartons Made From?
Egg cartons are made from a variety of materials, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
One common type of egg carton is made from paper pulp. Paper pulp is a renewable resource, so it is environmentally friendly. However, it is not as durable as some other materials, and it does not provide good insulation.
Another common type of egg carton is made from plastic. Plastic egg cartons are more durable than paper pulp and does a better job of insulating eggs. However, it is not biodegradable, so it creates more waste than paper pulp and the cartons end up in landfill.
Egg cartons can also be made from Styrofoam, which is an excellent insulator but does not break down in the environment.
As you can see, there are pros and cons to each type of egg carton material. Ultimately, the best choice for you depends on your individual needs and preferences.
Are Cardboard/Paper Pulp Egg Cartons OK For Composting?
Yes, 100% cardboard egg cartons are suitable for composting at home. If you buy eggs in a cardboard egg carton like the carton below, the carton can be composted.
Our home composting bin, a standard black bin, which has been standing in the sunshine now for over 20 years has had many hundreds of successfully composted cardboard egg cartons.
If your compost pile or compost bin is looking a bit dry, I would suggest soaking the cartons first in some water.
This makes it easier to tear them into smaller pieces and then just throw in. Job Done!
Are Styrofoam Egg Cartons Compostable?
Styrofoam is typically made with chemicals and is non-biodegradable, meaning that it will not break down naturally over time.
Styrofoam cartons are currently best disposed of in the trash. Curb side recycling programs/services will generally not want Styrofoam products.
There is more information here about recycling Styrofoam.
Can You Compost Egg Cartons With Ink?
Most inks used these days are soy based.
If the carton has a wrapper that is paper, remove it or as much of it as you can.
If the cardboard carton has any sort of plastic wrapper, I would suggest getting rid of that part, by removing from the carton and adding the plastic to the ordinary trash.
Some inks, such as soy-based inks, are safe to compost. However, other inks, such as petroleum-based inks, can release harmful chemicals into the soil.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell which type of ink was used just by looking at the egg carton.
The best way to find out is to contact the manufacturer and ask.
Once you know the type of ink that was used, you can decide whether it’s safe to compost the egg carton or not.
There is more information here about using food safe inks on egg cartons.
Are Egg Cartons Considered Brown Compost?
Egg cartons are an excellent brown compost material.
Cartons are made from thick paper or cardboard, which is ideal for breaking down in the compost pile or bin.
Cartons are easy to add to your compost heap. I would strongly suggest breaking them apart before adding to the pile. There’s no particular method for this, just rip and tear as best you can into reasonably small pieces.
Smaller surface areas will compost faster than if you just threw the whole egg carton into the compost pile.
Egg cartons do fall into the brown compost category along with paper and other types of cardboard.
You know you can compost pizza boxes too. Get rid of any food residue that may be stuck on to the box and then tear and add to the pile.
A Popular Way To Reuse Cardboard Egg Cartons?
Something else that is a great thing to do with paper egg cartons is to use them as seed starters. Kids love this activity. Add potting mix to the old egg cartons and fill with seasonal seeds for flowers or vegetables.
Because the carton is divided into 6 or 12 sections, depending on the size of the carton, it is easy for children to plant a small seedling in each section or sprinkle the number of seeds required.
When the seedlings are transplanted into bigger pots or the garden, the egg cartons can be recycled again and added to the compost bin.
So reuse the egg cartons and then add to the compost – What a good idea!
Egg Cartons Go Eco Friendly
Egg cartons are traditionally made from cardboard or Styrofoam, but there are now many sustainable options available which be able to be used in composting facilities and in composting systems for the home.
One popular choice is bamboo fiber, which is strong and durable yet also biodegradable.
Another option is recycled plastic, which can be used over and over again without losing its strength or quality.
There are also egg cartons made from plant-based materials, such as sustainable palm leaf or sugarcane fiber.
These options are not only environmentally friendly, but they also help to reduce your carbon footprint.
Whichever material you choose, make sure that it is free of harmful chemicals and toxins that could leach into your eggs.
Will Local Composting And Recycling Organizations Accept Cardboard Egg Cartons?
Typically, local recycling organizations will accept egg cartons that are made out of paperboard or fiberboard.
If you are unsure if your cartons are made from one of these materials, you can usually tell by looking for a recycle symbol with the number 5 or 6 in the center.
However, it is always best to check with your local organization to be sure. Most will not accept plastic or Styrofoam egg cartons.
Composting cardboard egg cartons is a good alternative.