Can You Recycle Styrofoam & Plastic Egg Cartons? (Guide)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

Trash and the disposal of it is an issue that the entire world is figuring out how to manage. Furthermore, recycling is one way to help manage our trash disposal without throwing everything away in landfills. 

However, not everything is easy to recycle, and some things never end up breaking down, causing trash that lasts forever. So are styrofoam and egg cartoons some of these items? Are they recyclable? Continue reading to find out this answer and more!

Can You Recycle Styrofoam & Plastic Egg Cartons?

Styrofoam and plastic are two materials that are difficult to recycle. Furthermore, the make-up of these materials makes them almost impossible to reuse. Additionally, each city has its own rules and processes for recycling, and although may be difficult, it is possible to recycle both materials with the right equipment. 

Read on to find out if these objects are recyclable, and how to do so!

How To Recycle Styrofoam & Plastic Egg Cartons

Depending on where you live, your city may have a program specializing in recycling styrofoam and plastic egg cartons. 

Therefore, you may be able to place your materials in a specific bin and place them on the curb for the county to collect, or you may have to take your recyclables to a specific location. 

The other option is to recycle by reusing the materials, also known as upcycling. 

Furthermore, by doing this you can reuse the materials for several things and give them a second life. 

While this may not be giving the items permanent uses, it can reduce the amount of styrofoam and plastic egg cartons that get dumped in a landfill. 

Upcycling Styrofoam & Plastic Egg Cartons

While you can throw styrofoam and plastic egg cartons in specialized bins in some states, you also have the option to upcycle. 

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These options may not give a purpose for very long, but it at least offers a second use before you have to throw them away.

Find A Farmer

If you can find a farmer or a farm with chickens that sells eggs, you could donate your cartons to the farmers to hold and sell the eggs with. 

You can also buy fresh farm eggs and just use your carton to take them home with you. 

Although it may not give the cartons much-extended life, you won’t have to use any other plastic or styrofoam container to keep them in. 

This simple second or third use can keep thousands of pounds of plastic egg cartons out of landfills and out of ecosystems, and that’s only if a handful of people upcycled.

Furthermore, if a few hundred or a couple thousand people did this, enough waste could be eliminated that we could see a change.

Arts And Crafts

Another way to upcycle your egg cartons is to use them for arts and crafts with your kids. 

However, if you don’t have kids, you can find local schools or daycares that need supplies for arts and crafts and donate any egg cartons for their craft time. 

Styrofoam Upcycling

If you have extra styrofoam lying around, you can use it for storage for several things or as a way to transport fragile objects. 

Furthermore, you can use styrofoam to do things such as:

  • Break up large pieces and use them as packing peanuts
  • Pad the inside of boxes to stop packages from moving around during shipping
  • Use larger pieces of styrofoam for holding ice cream cones, lollipops or cake pops upright
  • Cut cup holders into a large piece of styrofoam to make a floating pool tray

While these options may only give the styrofoam one more use, it’s always better than just throwing it out. 

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Styrofoam Make-Up

Styrofoam Make-Up

The reason that it is so difficult to recycle styrofoam is due to its chemical makeup. 

Additionally, since it is a trademarked collection of chemicals, we don’t know the exact makeup, but we know the main components that make it difficult to recycle. 

Polystyrene is a chemical made from styrene mixed with other resin-type chemicals to create a stable, hardened material, usually styrofoam.

Due to this chemical makeup, recycling is almost impossible because you can’t break down the materials once mixed. 

Therefore, it’s almost impossible to reuse any of the styrofoam unless you upcycle them. 

Furthermore, upcycling doesn’t require the breakdown of the material to reuse the product, and it doesn’t give the item permanent use, but it can help reduce the amount of styrofoam in landfills. 

Environmental Implications Of Styrofoam & Plastic

Once you throw away something, you never think about it again. 

However, plastic and styrofoam take hundreds of years to break down, so after you throw them away, the impact on the environment is still happening generations after you are gone. 

Furthermore, the chemical makeup of these materials causes significant issues that most people don’t connect with because they don’t think about it. 

However, if you were to understand how plastic and styrofoam break down or need to be disposed of, you would see how much of an issue it is now and how much worse it will get. 

Styrofoam

Styrofoam, due to its chemical make-up, does not break down over time and doesn’t lose its mass or strength either. 

This means that when styrofoam is put in a landfill or ocean, it will be there forever.  

Furthermore, having this much styrofoam lying around on the earth is an issue because eventually, it affects the ecosystems it is in. 

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However, styrofoam can be burned but it has to be incinerated at such high temperatures that it is difficult to find any fire that can reach those temperatures. 

Additionally, if it isn’t incinerated in such high temps, it releases many chemicals and toxic gases into the air that can be deadly.  

Even in daily use, styrofoam can leach chemicals into anything it comes in contact with, such as:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Oceans
  • Lakes

This can be detrimental to our ecosystems and health, depending on how much we use styrofoam for containers that hold our food and drinks. 

Plastic

Plastic is detrimental to every ecosystem and organism on earth. Unfortunately, the amount of plastic thrown into landfills every year is astronomical. 

Furthermore, it finds its way into lakes, rivers, oceans, forests, and ponds, causing chemical issues and challenging living conditions for the organisms and animals that live there. 

Additionally, plastic secretes toxins, and when humans ingest these things, it can cause major health issues. 

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle laminated paper, whether you can recycle used paper plates, and whether you can recycle oatmeal containers and packets.

Conclusion

Egg cartons can easily be recycled and upcycled in today’s world. However, if for some reason your local recycling center won’t take them, you can upcycle them into fun art crafts and more.

On the other hand, plastic and styrofoam are almost impossible to recycle, and they take hundreds of years to break down, leaving chemical and environmental effects for generations to come. 

Author

  • Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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