Are Paper Egg Cartons Recyclable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: December 20, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Paper and cardboard egg cartons are the most widely accepted material for recycling. 

Paper cartons are also biodegradable and can be composted, making them the most eco-friendly option. 

Paper egg cartons are often made from recycled paper material and can be recycled again.

This article is an in-depth guide into recycling egg cartons, including which materials are recyclable and biodegradable and the appropriate way to recycle cartons.

Can I Recycle My Paper Egg Cartons?

The short answer is yes, you can! Paper and cardboard egg cartons are 100% recyclable as paper and cardboard are among the most widely accepted materials for recycling. 

These cartons can be disposed off in your household recycling bin along with any other paper products.

Can I Recycle Plastic Egg Cartons?

Plastic egg cartons can also be recycled and along with paper cartons are widely accepted materials for recycling. 

This is because plastic cartons are made from the same clear plastic as water bottles, so as long as the universal recycling symbol is on the packaging the carton can be broken down and recycled.

Can I Recycle Styrofoam Egg Cartons?

No – you may be surprised to learn that unlike paper and plastic egg cartons, Styrofoam cartons cannot be placed in your recycling bin and are not accepted by most recycling facilities. 

Communities for Recycling claim that Styrofoam is made from petroleum, a type of plastic which is technically recyclable, but as it is made up of 90% air it is too bulky.

Why Can I Not Recycle My Styrofoam Cartons?

Communities for Recycling state that the collection and transportation often outweigh the environmental benefits and recycling Styrofoam is only efficient when it can be compacted into a denser shape. 

Most recycling facilities do not have the equipment required to do this, so Styrofoam has to be taken to a special facility to be recycled.

How Can I Dispose of Styrofoam Egg Cartons?

You would need to find a specialized drop-off point rather than recycling in your household bin. 

Institutions like the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers have a website will allows you to find your local drop-off point and a service to mail Styrofoam to them to be specially recycled if there is not a drop-off point in your area.

How Do I Dispose of My Egg Cartons?

Paper and plastic egg cartons can be recycled with the rest of your household items in your recycling bin or at your local recycling centre. 

Ensure that egg cartons are clean and dry before recycling them – a common mistake is cracking eggs and placing them back in the carton, yet this food residue can contaminate the recycling process.

Are Egg Cartons Eco-friendly?

Yes, most egg cartons are eco-friendly. 

Paper and cardboard egg cartons are the most eco-friendly and are a more sustainable choice than plastic or foam cartons. 

This is because they can easily be recycled to create more egg cartons and are also made from paper and other materials which have already been recycled. 

Paper egg cartons are also biodegradable and can be composted, breaking down much more easily than plastic.

What Are Egg Cartons Made Of?

There are three common materials that egg cartons are usually made of:

  • Paper and cardboard. Paper egg cartons are made from molded pulp which is a mix of recycled paper, cardboard and other recyclable materials.
  • Plastic. Plastic egg cartons are made from PET, the same clear plastic used for water bottles.
  • Foam. Styrofoam cartons are made from petroleum, a type of plastic polystyrene foam.

How Do I Compost Paper Egg Cartons?

As paper and cardboard egg cartons are biodegradable they can be composted with other biodegradable waste in your garden. 

Cut the carton into small pieces and place the bits with leaves, wood chips, dry grass, and other brown materials. Then cover with green items such as vegetable and fruit leftovers.

What Are Other Uses for Egg Cartons?

  • Craft projects
  • Food storage 
  • Drawer and cupboard organizers 
  • Fridge organization
  • Seed starters for plants
  • Storage
  • Fire starters
  • Birdseed holders
  • Packaging
  • Compost
  • Gardening projects 

What Are Egg Cartons Recycled Into?

Paper egg cartons are broken down into a pulp and recycled again to create new egg cartons or other recycled paper products. 

Plastic cartons are made from PET, the same clear plastic as water bottles, and so often get recycled into new packaging, bottles, clothing, construction materials, and automotive parts.

How Long Does It Take Egg Cartons to Decompose?

Paper and cardboard cartons take two to four weeks to decompose, plastic cartons can take up to 1,000 years to break down, and Styrofoam can take 500 years. 

This is if these materials are not recycled and are thrown into landfill.

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