Are Egg Cartons Recyclable?

    While many people have the desire to recycle to help the environment, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the rules and regulations surrounding which materials you can actually recycle, and how and where to recycle them. It’s understandably more difficult to recycle construction materials or toxic chemicals than everyday items, but even common household items can leave you guessing when it comes to the proper way to dispose of them.

    Are egg cartons recyclable? This is a question that many people have, and the answer is yes! Both foam and plastic egg cartons can be recycled. However, it’s important to note that recycling foam egg cartons can be dangerous for the environment. When foam is melted down, it releases harmful chemicals into the air. So, if you’re able to recycle foam egg cartons, it’s best to do so at a recycling facility that specifically deals with foam products.

    The foam in foam egg cartons is a type of foam called expanded polystyrene foam, or EPS foam. It’s a lightweight foam that’s made from chemical compounds like styrene and benzene to create a foam structure. When the foam is heated up, it expands and becomes rigid. But when it cools down again, it becomes very brittle and breaks easily. Because of the chemicals used during production, this kind of foam is not biodegradable- only about 20% of foam egg cartons are recycled each year. And when people try to recycle them at home by using a microwave oven, fire can result from heating wire insulation in the foam.

    Plastic egg cartons are a little easier to recycle than foam ones. Plastic containers made for holding food come in a variety of types: some may be recyclable depending on the type, while others might not be recyclable at all. There are two types of plastic that can go into recycling bins: ones that are number one (PETE) and ones that are number seven (other plastics). Number one plastics can be found under recycling code PET or PETE; this type is good with any foam product like foam plates and cups since they’re all designed for food contact. Number seven plastics include most other forms of plastic (i.e. foam, plastic bags, straws, etc.) and cannot be recycled in most places.

    You might be able to recycle them at your local recycling facility, or you could check with your trash service to see if they collect plastic egg cartons for recycling.

    There has been some debate about foam egg cartons and food safety. Foam egg cartons are more airtight than plastic ones, so the foam is usually considered to be a more sanitary option. But foam egg cartons can break down over time, which means bacteria could potentially build up inside them. This makes foam egg cartons more difficult to clean than plastic ones, and it’s important that people wash foam egg cartons regularly and dry them completely to prevent harmful bacteria from building up on the foam surfaces.

    So if you want to recycle foam egg cartons, make sure you thoroughly clean out the inside of the foam first! And don’t forget that plastic ones need to be clear of any food residue too.

    Recycling comes with a lot of details, but it’s important to understand what happens to the products we use every day. If you’re curious about recycling other materials or have specific questions, your local recycling facility will be able to help. And if you can’t find the answer there, contact your trash service. They should be happy to help out! So before you toss that egg carton in the trash, check and see if it can be recycled. It just might save some foam or plastic from ending up in a landfill somewhere.