Not all Egg Cartons are Recyclable

Eggs are a staple in the American diet being used in cooking, Easter fun, and the all-American breakfast. In fact, each person in the country consumes more than 270 eggs every year meaning hundreds of thousands of egg cartons will wind up in the trash, find a second use, or be recycled.


Waste Connections Memphis encourages its customers to know the different kinds of egg cartons to properly dispose of them or recycle them. Consumers can make an environmentally friendly choice with something as simple as an egg carton.

Eggs come in all shapes and sizes to meet consumer demand and, with the different eggs come different packaging options. Being aware of the packaging options when you buy your eggs will ensure the carton winds up in the right place after use. 

In the Waste Connections Memphis market, not all egg cartons are recyclable:

  • Paper - Recycling Cart
  • Clear plastic: Recycling Cart
  • Styrofoam: Trash Cart

Paper Egg Cartons – Put in Recycling Cart

 Paper Egg Cartons

Paper egg cartons are made from molded pulp which is a mix of recycled papers, cardboard and other materials. As an added benefit for the consumer and the environment, molded pulp is less expensive than some other materials and molded pulp is often considered a sustainable packaging material since it is already produced from recycled materials and can be recycled again after its useful life cycle.

While paper cartons can go straight into the recycling bin, there are many other creative uses for a paper carton in the home and the garden.

Styrofoam (Polystyrene) Egg Cartons – Put in Trash Cart

Styrofoam Egg Cartons

Because there is no local recycling market for Styrofoam, these egg cartons need to be placed in the trash.  While Styrofoam cartons can’t be recycled, there are many creative uses to give a Styrofoam carton a second life.

NOTE:  Styrofoam is a trademarked brand of closed-cell extruded polystyrene. 

Clear Plastic Egg Cartons – Put in Recycling Cart

 Clear Plastic Egg Cartons

Clear plastic egg cartons can be put in Memphis residential recycling cart. These cartons are generally made from recycled plastics and are recyclable themselves.

Creative Uses for Egg Cartons

Even if the egg carton your eggs come in can’t be recycled, it doesn’t need to go straight into the trash. There are several creative ways to give egg cartons a second life, including:

  • Give them to a neighbor/friend who has chickens and your carton will likely be used multiple times;
  • Cartons can make a great paint pallet for young artists’ craft projects;
  • Their design makes them handy for sorting and storing small items;
  • Many cartons are ideal for starting seedlings.

With Americans eating more than 270 eggs every year, proper recycling and the reuse of egg cartons can keep valuable resources out of our landfills and maybe even spark some great new uses to give egg cartons a second life.


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