The Styrofoam Story: Why we use (and reuse) styrofoam egg cartons

By | July 24, 2018

You might be surprised to learn that we use primarily styrofoam cartons for our eggs when styrofoam is notoriously bad for the environment. However, when customers return their cartons, using styrofoam is actually more environmentally beneficial than using paper cartons.

We put a huge emphasis on the “reuse” aspect of the “reuse, reduce, recycle,” adage, and these cartons allow us to do just that. We ask that our customers return their cartons to us so that we can reuse them time and time again, thus eliminating the wasteful aspect of styrofoam cartons. Here, our chicken farmer Krista, goes into depth about how and why we use styrofoam cartons:

1. Styrofoam cartons can be sanitized and re-used many times. Pulp paper cartons break down quickly and get dirty. Styrofoam can be easily wiped down with a clean cloth and a sanitizing solution. So please return your cartons!

2. Styrofoam cartons help to maintain a cool egg temperature. This is extremely important at Farmers Markets and other pick up locations. We have to maintain a cool temperature between 3 – 7 degrees Celsius or colder for our fresh eggs. At all of our market locations we have to comply with AHS Health Regulations and are subject to inspections without notice. The styrofoam cartons are much more insulating than cardboard and help to maintain the cold temperatures which prevent bacterial growth.

3. Styrofoam cartons hold up better and protect the eggs through all the transporting that we have to do. I package the eggs at our farm in Blackie, then I drive them to the YYC Growers Warehouse in Calgary, from there Danilo and the team of warehouse volunteers move cartons into other coolers and into the truck for delivery. The cartons have to be sturdy to withstand all that moving! These cartons keep your eggs safe and cold during all of this. Less breakage means less waste!

4. Cost. This is a huge one for us. Styrofoam cartons are considerably less money than the paper cartons. We purchase 1000 cartons at a time and styrofoam cartons are 10 cents cheaper than the paper cartons. This may not seem like a lot but it really adds. I estimate that we only get about a quarter or less of our cartons back. Please return your cartons!

5. I have a friend who recycles styrofoam. When the cartons have lived a good life, I remove all the paper, wipe off the ink with rubbing alcohol and send them to Brian. He has a packing/ moving company and has a machine that melts styrofoam down to be recycled back into more styrofoam. This is another important reason to return your cartons. If I can’t reuse them, I can’t recycle them.

Please, please remember to return your cartons! Every returned carton is a carton that doesn’t end up in the landfill, but rather reenters the cycle and continues serving its purpose.

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