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'Egg-cellent' ideas for recycling egg cartons

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Most of us buy eggs which means we ended up with empty cartons. If these are of the cardboard variety there are many ways to avoid throwing them in the trash.

If you live in an area that offers recycling, the cartons can be placed in your recycling bin and they will be hauled off to a facility that will turn them into something brand new. If you are a home composter, the cardboard cartons can be added to your compost bin where they will eventually break down into organic material.

Another option is to pass on your cartons to friends that have chickens. With egg layers in their backyard, these folks probably don't buy eggs and may need the containers to store all their freshly laid treasures.

Many people use egg cartons as seed starters. Place a little dirt in the cups and plant your seeds. The beauty of this is that the cardboard retains water to keep your seedlings moist and when it is time to plant you can place the cups directly in the ground.

If you have a fireplace or a firepit you can make your own firestarters from egg cartons. All you need is some dryer lint and candle stubs. Place a ball of lint in each cup and melt the candle wax in a double boiler. Pour the melted wax over the lint and allow to harden. When solid, tear the cups apart. For use, light the corner of one of the cups.

Another simple use for the cartons is to use them as storage for Christmas ornaments. They are kept separated and are protected.

If your family likes to play games, an empty egg carton is perfect for a game of Mancala using beans or beads as counters. The Time for Kids website has complete instructions.

Egg cartons are also outstanding for making home and kid crafts. A search on the Web will open up all kinds of great and creative ideas. The website Upcycle That has a tutorial for making a string of egg carton cup lights.

Another simple use involves using the cartons for organizing and storing items such as buttons, hardware and other small items.

Last, but certainly not least, is to use the cartons as paint cups.

Remember to be sure that the carton is clean and the ideas are endless. Be creative!

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