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Published on October 22nd, 2007 | by Stephanie Evans


10 Uses for Egg Cartons

At one time or another, many households in America have a stockpile of egg cartons sitting in the recycling bin.  Have you ever thought of or employed useful ways to reuse this nifty container?  By reusing items, you minimize production energy associated with sending them packing off for transformation into something new.

Egg cartons ingeniously cradle fragile cargo.  The standard mode—known as 2 x 6 in packaging parlance—is made of molded recycled paper.  You can give that paper yet another life by reusing the cartons in these resourceful ways:

  • Start Seedlings. Cut off the lid, fill each cup with potting soil, and plant some seeds.  Once the seedlings sprout, cut each cup from the tray and plant it—cup and all.
  • Feed Birds. Trim off the lid, thread string through holes in each corner of the tray, fill the cups halfway with birdseed, and hang in a tree.
  • Ship Cheaply. Being stiff but lightweight makes egg cartons excellent replacements for Styrofoam packing peanuts.
  • Fire the Grill. Melt candle scraps in a double boiler, then fill each cup halfway with sawdust.  Carefully ladle the wax over the sawdust and let it cool.  Each cup can now serve as a fire starter—just light the edge.
  • Organize Fasteners. Use your cartons as repositories for screws and bolts removed during appliance or other household repairs.  Numbering the cups ensures proper reassembly.
  • Cushion Ornaments. The cartons are ideal for separating small, fragile Christmas ornaments for storage.
  • Round Up Tiny Spare Lights. Those stray 4-watt night-lights and holiday bulbs won’t last long rattling around in a drawer.  An egg carton’s cups make for ideal storage.  For this use, keep the lid.
  • Manage a Farm. Torn up, egg cartons are a great food source in worm farms.  If the soil mix is too moist, add dry carton pieces.  Too dry?  Dunk them in water first.
  • Muffle the Band. This Old House technical editor (and former rock-star wannabee) Mark Powers once nailed egg cartons to his apartment walls and ceiling to dampen sound while he was recording.
  • Cool a Drink. Now, he wouldn’t try this with paper cartons, but This Old House general contractor Tom Silva says that in a pinch, the foam variety doubes as a great makeshift ice cube tray when you’re stocking up for guests.

Tip Contributor: This Old House

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