Recycling is more than sending items to a facility for processing; it also refers to transforming items into new usable products. Instead of throwing away cardboard and Styrofoam egg cartons, transform them into new items to reduce the amount of waste put into the landfill. This is good for the environment and promotes green living.
Egg cartons are available in formed pulp paper cardboard and Styrofoam, depending on the producer and location. Standard egg cartons have 12 individual egg divots and are used to prevent breaking during transport. Most cartons are available with a cover that folds over the top of the eggs.
Cardboard egg cartons are a paper product and can be recycled with other cardboard. Since the cardboard style is made from paper pulp, the cartons decompose quickly in backyard compost bins and landfills. Most recycling collectors do not accept Styrofoam, so this style is not commonly recycled though a processing plant. Check with your local recycling collection location to verify if Styrofoam is accepted.
Cardboard cartons make fire starters when combined with dryer lint and wax. Fill each egg divot with dryer lint, and pour melted candle wax over the top to hold in place. Place one to two fire starters at the bottom of campfires to quickly light the dry wood. Since cardboard cartons break down quickly, use them to start seeds indoors in the spring. Cut the 12 divots apart, add seed-starting dirt and plant seeds into the holes. You are able to plant the entire egg divot into the ground at planting time. Styrofoam cartons can be broken apart and used as packaging material when shipping items.
Cardboard and Styrofoam egg cartons are the right size for storing golf balls, coins and jewelry. Place golf balls in the egg divots in sets of 12 and close the cover. This allows the cartons to be stacked neatly on a shelf, without spilling. Coins can be sorted and held in the egg divots according to their currency. If storage is needed, close the cover and label the carton for future reference. Cut the cover off an egg carton and use the egg divots to hold jewelry. The carton can be placed in a drawer or on a bedroom dresser to keep necklaces and earrings safe and untangled. Small Christmas and holiday decorations can be placed into the egg divots for storage after the holidays.
Children's crafts can be made with both styles of egg cartons. Cut the 12 divots apart and use them to make creepy spiders or bugs. Use paint or markers to decorate the spider and bugs. Add pipe cleaners for legs and antennae, and glue wiggle eyes on to complete the craft. The individual divots also make jingle bells. Decorate the outside of the bell with paint or markers. Punch a hole in the top to thread a loop of ribbon through. Inside the bell, tie a jingle to the end of the ribbon to complete the project.