By Kim Robson:
As an ovo-lacto-pesco vegetarian, I go through a lot of eggs for protein. All those cardboard egg cartons, luckily, are eminently recyclable and reusable. Read on for some tips on ways to repurpose those cartons instead of just throwing them into the recycle bin:
Or cut them into larger pieces to make lightweight packing material. Shipping a package of breakables? Moving? Don’t purchase wasteful packing peanuts, expensive bubble wrap, or paper wrapping supplies. Instead, cut the lids off cartons and use the egg-cradle bottoms to line the bottoms of boxes of fragile items. You can also cut up the cartons to use in place of packing peanuts.
When my neighbor had extra eggs to sell from his chickens, I’d bring my own cartons to refill. Know someone who has backyard chickens? They would probably appreciate any extra cartons you want to donate. Egg vendors at farmers markets or your local CSA also might be in need of extras.
Land O’ Lakes brand egg cartons are made from plastic, with a brilliant double lid to protect the contents. I’ve used these to transport tiny homemade petit fours cakes to parties. They are also ideal and sanitary for transporting deviled eggs.
Cardboard egg cartons make perfect seed starter cups. Instead of buying peat cups, grow your seedlings in egg carton cups. When they’re ready to be transplanted outside, simply cut out an individual cup and plant the entire thing in the ground. The cardboard will decompose naturally as the plant grows.
While you’re outside, save a carton or two for fun bird feeders. This would make a great project for the kids, too. Cut off the lid and poke holes near the corners. String colorful ribbons through the holes and tie the carton in an ideal tree so it’s level. Fill the cups with birdseed.
Now that the weather is warming up, you might want to get out camping in nature or build a backyard fire pit. Instead of using store-bought fire starter sticks, save your egg cartons and make your own! Fill the egg cups with organic flammable material such as dryer lint, dry grass, sawdust, pencil shavings, and the like. Melt some paraffin or candle scraps, then carefully pour into the cups and gently stir it all together. Let the mixtures cool before cutting the cups apart. Store them in a cool, dark place. When you’re ready to start a fire, simply light the edge of a cup and add kindling.
Are you a crafty person? Got kids? Save those egg cartons because they can be your best friend. Egg cartons are great art supplies and can be made into a million things; your imagination is the only limit. Just search Google Images for egg carton crafts for inspiration. Check out these adorable ladybugs and caterpillars.
While the kids are painting their creations, why not use an egg carton for individual paint palettes. The cups are the perfect size for a good amount of each color and they can be used again and again. Just let the paint dry in the cups and refill them with the same color next time.
Don’t have kids? You can still donate egg cartons to a local preschool, childcare center, or grade school art department. Such facilities are always looking for extra art supplies.
Those Land O’ Lakes clear plastic cartons make excellent storage for corralling and sorting tiny craft items like beads, sequins, shells, glitter, buttons, googly eyes, thumbtacks, nails, nuts & bolts, etc. Or use them for viewing small sorted items like jewelry-making supplies. Cardboard 18-count cartons are perfect for storing small Christmas bulbs and other delicate ornaments.
For the ambitious, here’s a super charming craft project you can try. Carefully cut off the top third of a dozen blown eggs. Nestle them upright in an egg carton, fill with soil and add tiny succulents and moss or flowers to make a darling window garden!