Americans eat about 290 eggs in a year … like, each person in the U.S. eats that many eggs every year.

Eggs usually come in cartons of 12, so that’s about 24 cartons of eggs for every American … every year.

What happens to all those cartons? Can egg cartons be recycled?

Well, we’re sort of at the mercy of the egg producers and grocers who decide what materials to use for the cartons. They might use paper, plastic, or Styrofoam and we’re stuck sorting through the trash.

But, if you know what to do with the options available, you can make sure your egg cartons don’t end up in a landfill or worse.

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Some egg cartons can be returned to the store.

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Cardboard and paper egg cartons are recyclable.

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Plastic egg cartons may not be recyclable.

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Styrofoam egg cartons are not recyclable.

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Are there reusable egg carton options?

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What else could you do with your egg cartons?

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TL;DR

Can Egg Cartons be Recycled - Egg Carton Stack
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I have a huge stack of empty egg cartons just waiting for me to do something with them … how did that happen?

Well, I started saving a few to make fire starters that I use when camping. I’d stack them up until I felt like doing a project (instructions below), then I’d use as many as I needed, or had supplies for.

And generally, I’d take the rest of the cartons back to my co-op to send them back for reuse by the egg farmers (or whoever packs the eggs for them).

Then COVID-19 happened and, suddenly, I had this leaning tower of egg cartons to deal with.

So, I wondered, can egg cartons be recycled? See, I’m new to the area, and I hadn’t scoped out the recycling sitch just yet.

Can Egg Cartons be Recycled - Molded Pulp Egg Carton
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Some egg cartons can be returned to the store.

As I mentioned above, I’ve returned many an egg carton to the store for reuse. But not all stores or brands will accept returned cartons. In my case, I buy locally farmed eggs at my local co-op.If you’re lucky enough to have access to a great local co-op, ask them if they accept empty egg cartons for return to the farmers.If they don’t currently accept them, try contacting the farmers directly, to see if they’d be interested in starting a collection program.

Cardboard and paper egg cartons are recyclable.

Most of the standard egg cartons we see are made from molded pulp – which is a lot like paper mache – which can be recycled, or re-pulped.It’s safe to say that most recycling programs will accept this form of paper for recycling. But if you live in an area with a lot of recycling restrictions you should probably double-check with your local waste management or recycling company.After checking with the Ada county and Boise city waste management websites, I found that I can go ahead and recycle the remainder of my paper egg cartons.
Can Egg Cartons be Recycled - Plastic Egg Carton
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