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Recycle egg trays and cartons into seed starting trays

Updated on August 12, 2015

I previously composted egg carton trays and their covers, but after emailing the company that distributed the eggs and told that the outer covering was not safe to compost, I decided to find an alternative way to deal with the waste. The best way I have come up with to deal with the trays themselves was to use them to sprout plants for your garden. The trays are a very convenient way to sprout seedlings before planting season and work rather well.

Repurposing egg cartons is a great way to garden greener and reducing the amount of waste you have to throw out.

Time required: 10 minutes or less per tray

Difficulty: easy

Cost: 5 dollars or less per tray


  • Egg Tray Carton


  • Poking device
  • Scissors
  • Shovel


1. I like to poke holes in the bottom of each egg container. It may be unnecessary, but in my mind, it gives the plant just a little bit of help to establish its root system. Without having to fight through the tray itself, it helps the seedling to grow into the fertile earth without having to fight through the cardboard or molded paper.

2. Add a bit of soil to the bottom of the tray. I like to use some of the compost that I have made.

3. Plant the seeds as indicated on the package. You may need to add a bit more soil on top of the seeds afterwards.

4. Water Gently!

If you spray water from your hose directly into the tray, the water will almost "scoop" the seed and soil out and unplant your seeds.

The best way I have found is to water underneath. The tray will soak up the water from the bottom up and saturate the soil just fine!

5. As it becomes time to plant, use a sturdy pair of scissors to cut apart your egg carton. Plant directly into the ground. I use a pair of trauma shears that are pretty strong. They are nicknames "penny cutters" for a reason!


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    • Tricia Deed profile image

      Tricia Deed 3 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      I like your idea of using the egg carton. I will definitely use this method for the next gardening cycle. Thank you.

    • squidoofreak profile image

      squidoofreak 3 years ago

      I must try this.

    • Grifts profile image

      Devin Gustus 3 years ago

      @esmonaco: You're very welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Great idea and very creative, I would have never thought of this. Thanks!!!

    • profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 3 years ago

      I have done this, too, with good results. Thanks for sharing.

    • Grifts profile image

      Devin Gustus 3 years ago

      @ecogranny: The outside covering that egg cartons come in has ink on it. The carton itself is pressed paper with no ink on it.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      This is a great idea! My granddaughter and I recently used egg cartons for a gardening experiment, which I will share on Squidoo one day soon, and I was intrigued by how easy it was to start seedlings this way. I do hope you will share more information about the chemicals that render egg cartons unsuitable for composting. I can't help wondering if that also makes them unsafe for starting food plants.

      Congratulations on your feature on the DIY page today!

    • Grifts profile image

      Devin Gustus 3 years ago

      @favored: You're very welcome. Inspiration struck and I figured other people would like to try it too.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      A really good idea for starting seedlings. Thanks for sharing this.