Welcome to The Feast’s new “How to Hack” series, bringing you unexpected and brilliant new uses you never knew you needed for ordinary household objects. Actress and social influencer Rachel Grant kicks it off with new ways to use kitchen items.
My grandmother kept a big cupboard with hoards of empty containers, packaging, tins, plastics, egg cartons, and more — each put to good use for various home and garden needs. This resourcefulness is a habit I’m pleased to have inherited (albeit a smaller scale) and over the years I’ve discovered many ingenious ways to recyle and reuse egg cartons.
Most egg cartons are made of molded recycled paper — a design that has remained the same for over a century and one that can do much more than protect our breakfast. Recycling and upcyling is not only good for the earth but great for our mindset and day to day lifestyle. Living resourcefully brings about our ingenuity and creativity — a valuable trait, and one that in business sets the successful ones apart.
Instead of throwing away your empty egg cartons, why not be a good egg and give that paper yet another life. Here are 10 great ways to hack egg cartons!
1. Grow Seedlings
Do you enjoy gardening? Egg carton cups are the perfect size for germinating seedlings. Simply cut off the lid, fill each cup with soil and seed, place in the right spot and water carefully. Once sprouted, snip each cup free and plant them directly into soil. The eco-friendly cardboard will decompose as your garden grows.
You can also use clear plastic egg cartons and create a mini greenhouse by leaving on the lid to cover the seedlings. Just make sure to poke holes in the lid and cups and to remove all plastic before planting.
2. Hold Golf Balls and Other Round Objects
Egg cartons make it easy to hold loose golf balls that roll all over the place. The cartons are stackable and create a golf ball storage solution that can be labeled neatly by brand and condition. This method works well for other round objects like storing holiday decorations and holding bulbs during the off season.
3. Make a Bird Feeder
If you love to watch birds from your window, make a quick and easy feeder to invite feathered friends to your yard. Take the egg carton, trim off the lid and using a skewer, make holes in each corner. Thread string through the holes, fill with birdseed, hang it in a tree or on a patio ledge, then sit back and enjoy a symphony of beautiful birds in your garden.
4. Create an Organizer Tray
Use the egg cups to organize tiny objects like screws, crayons, chalk, buttons, beads and other small trinkets that might go missing. The compartments make particularly good repositories for hardware items like screws, bolts, spacers, nails, and nuts removed during household appliance repairs or while assembling DIY furniture. You can also number the cups to ensure correct construction.
5. Use in Compost
If you have a compost bin, you may be tossing in your egg shells, but don't forget to include the cardboard carton! To make good compost, you need around 50 percent green (fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc.) and 50% brown (paper, shredded cardboard, nut shells, etc.) material to feed the micro-organisms breaking down organic matter that turns it into nutrient-rich soil. Simply tear your carton into small pieces and these will enrich your compost pile!
6. Cool Down a Laptop
Does your laptop overheat? Place it on a wide open egg carton! Most laptops have a cooling system, but for various reasons they can sometimes overheat. Placing an egg carton under your laptop allows air to better circulate in and around the cups and under the laptop which helps it to cool.
7. Organize Nail Polish
Organizing your collection of nail polish can get messy. Use the bottom tray of an egg carton to make a neat and easy-to-view nail polish rack. Depending on how much nail polish you have, you can cut up and fit egg cartons trays into a suitable drawer or container. This arrangement is much better than fumbling around in a drawer full of bottles clacking against each other.
8. Light a Barbecue
Barbecues, camping, and tailgating are much easier with an egg carton fire starter. Place a lump of charcoal into each egg compartment, close the carton shut, place it on the grill or fire and light it up!
9. Organize Condiments in the Fridge
If you are a lover of condiments, you have no doubt had to deal with the struggle of getting the sauce out of the bottle. The bottom of an egg carton fitted in your fridge shelf door can hold upside down condiment bottles to make them easier to pour. The egg carton not only stops them from toppling over but will keep your shelf clean and guarantees you will never have to shake and shake to get that last little bit out of the bottle again!
10. Make an Ice Cube Tray
What if your egg cartons are made from Styrofoam or plastic? Well, you can never have too many ice cubes at a barbecue or party. Styrofoam and plastic egg cartons make great ice cube trays, as the ice doesn’t stick and what better way to reuse them. Just make sure to thoroughly wash out each tray before making ice in it. Alternatively, use this ice in buckets for cooling cans and bottles.
It’s time to get cracking with those egg cartons!
The Feast is Bravo’s digital destination serving culinary inspiration and essential food news. Like us on Facebook and visit daily for diet and wellness trends, kitchen hacks and tools — and the buzziest celebrity, chef, and restaurant happenings you need to know about right now.