New way to reuse styrofoam egg cartons! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 06-16-2008, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This morning, DD1 and I were talking about all the fresh fruit we have in the house that's just a bit past its prime, and she suggested making ices out of them. I was thinking we could freeze them in ice cube trays then blend again with water or fresh fruit to make an "ice cream" like texture. But the thing is that we only have 2 ice cube trays and we need them for making ice.

As we were having this conversation, I noticed the empty styrofoam egg cartons sitting on top of the fridge, that I didn't know where to recycle and saved in case I could find a use for them. I realized the egg cartons were shaped kind of like ice cube trays, and it's even covered!

So we filled up one egg carton (from 18 eggs) with pureed honeydew, and another one with pureed pineapple. A few hours later we discovered that the frozen fruit pops out very easily because the carton is a flexible material.

We also discovered that honeydew makes wonderful ice pops that are just as good as commercial pops made with sugar. The pineapple is OK when it's fully frozen but thaws to a weird texture. We'll probably use up the pineapple in smoothies rather than eating it plain. We also have some of the honeydew frozen in actual ice pop molds (but we only have about 4 of those and we didn't want to waste the melon) and some in gladware containers, to be eaten with a spoon.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#2 of 26 Old 06-16-2008, 10:08 PM
 
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Sorry to rain on your parade, but I am not sure that anything frozen in styrofoam egg cartons that you will then eat raw (as in ice-cream) is a good idea. I really do like my eggs to be cooked for safety and then you never know how clean the chicken was who laid the egg (Salmonella, anyone?). It's just that if E-coli can be in a vegetable or fruit (and not just on it), Salmonella might be on the egg-shell and therefore on the carton???
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#3 of 26 Old 06-18-2008, 01:36 AM
 
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Just wash them!
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#4 of 26 Old 06-18-2008, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wash them!
Um, yeah, of course I washed them first! I just didn't bother to mention that on my original post because I didn't think it was necessary.

I'm not afraid of germs in general and I enjoy my eggs with runny yolks.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#5 of 26 Old 06-21-2008, 05:33 PM
 
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What a great idea. My kids get WIC so we have a ton of egg cartons around the kitchen.
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#6 of 26 Old 06-22-2008, 10:03 AM
 
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Styrene migration from styrofoam cups & containers
The migration of styrene from a polystyrene cup containing cold or hot beverages has been observed to be as high as 0.025% for a single use. That may seem like a rather low number, until you work it this way: If you drink water, tea, or coffee from polystyrene cups four times a day for three years, you may have consumed about one Styrofoam cup-worth of styrene along with your beverages. Mmm.... chemically...

Styrene migration has been shown to be partially dependent on the fat content of the food in the polystyrene container -- the higher the fat content, the higher the migration into the food. Entrees, soups, or beverages that are higher in fat (like a bowl of three-cheese chili or a cup of Triple-Cream Frappa-Mocha Java Delight) will suck more of the styrene out of the polystyrene container.

Some compounds found in beverages, like alcohol or the acids in "tea with lemon," can also raise the styrene migration rate. When it comes to more solid food, the meat or cheese you buy from the market on a clear-plastic-wrapped polystyrene tray is readily picking up styrene from the foam container. Studies have also found that styrene tends to migrate more quickly when foods or drinks are hot.

Health effects of styrene
Once styrene gets into your food or drink -- and then into you -- what does it do? Studies suggest that styrene mimics estrogen in the body and can therefore disrupt normal hormone functions, possibly contributing to thyroid problems, menstrual irregularities, and other hormone-related problems, as well as breast cancer and prostate cancer. The estrogenicity of styrene is thought to be comparable to that of Bisphenol A, another potent estrogen mimic from the world of plastics.


Full article here: http://www.collegecentral.com/Articl...ArticleID=3007

Please do not use egg cartons or meat trays for further use in the kitchen, it's just not safe...
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#7 of 26 Old 06-22-2008, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, so if styrene transfers into hot, fatty foods, it sounds like freezing pureed fruits (which are practically fat free) is a relatively safe way to use it.

I'm not using styofoam cups for hot liquids 4 times a day for years on end.

Is this any less safe than using plastic or aluminum to freeze stuff? Stanless steel ice cube trays aren't in the budget right now.

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#8 of 26 Old 06-22-2008, 03:27 PM
 
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It's not just fatty food items, also acidic food (like the ice tea with lemon).

I just think these are two strikes against using styrofoam egg cartons like this (salmonella, which don't tell me that'll go away with washing, I just don't believe that styrofoam egg cartons are that washable, and that leaching of plastic into your food), I would not wait for a third strike to put it off my to-do list.

I just don't think this is a good idea and I would not want people to imitate it. Sorry to rain on your parade (but DH works in restaurants and maybe I am just a food safety freak).

Yes, I think that Rubbermaid and Tupperware are slightly better, or why don't you splurge (once) on those individual serve apple sauces (package of six):

a) they already contained an acidic food (and hopefully somebody made sure that's okay)

b) way easier to clean than egg-carton
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#9 of 26 Old 06-22-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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I'm not a fan of styrofoam at all.

Do you save small glass containers? I save every glass container as I always think I'll find a use for them later- utilizing that second R

You could freeze the fruit in small round glass jars- think small jelly jars or baby food jars.

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#10 of 26 Old 06-22-2008, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not a fan of styrofoam at all.

Do you save small glass containers? I save every glass container as I always think I'll find a use for them later- utilizing that second R

You could freeze the fruit in small round glass jars- think small jelly jars or baby food jars.
We don't use baby food at all, and we go through jelly pretty slowly. We don't use teeny tiny jelly jars anyway as the jelly is too expensive that way.

Basically, I thought of using the egg cartons when we had a huge melon about to go bad and literally $0 available to buy any new freezer containers.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#11 of 26 Old 06-23-2008, 05:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
We don't use baby food at all, and we go through jelly pretty slowly. We don't use teeny tiny jelly jars anyway as the jelly is too expensive that way.

Basically, I thought of using the egg cartons when we had a huge melon about to go bad and literally $0 available to buy any new freezer containers.
No baby food here either but it just kind of gave an idea for the size you were looking for.

Would you be against using a larger glass jar to freeze the fruit?

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#12 of 26 Old 06-23-2008, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But how could I get frozen fruit out of a glass jar if the opening is even slightly narrower than the jar itself? Most glass jars are like that. I don't mind freezing broth in glass, because I'm going to thaw it out before use. But the fruit we WANT to consume frozen, or to put into the blender while it's still frozen- so if we can't get the frozen pieces out easily while they're still frozen, it's a waste of food.

If I had a set of shot glasses, that might work, but I can't go shopping right now.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#13 of 26 Old 06-23-2008, 08:19 PM
 
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Hmmm, I've got some four ounce canning jars that I've used for paint (non-toxic) at school. Those would be a great size for me.
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#14 of 26 Old 06-24-2008, 12:02 PM
 
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We don't use baby food at all, and we go through jelly pretty slowly. We don't use teeny tiny jelly jars anyway as the jelly is too expensive that way.

Basically, I thought of using the egg cartons when we had a huge melon about to go bad and literally $0 available to buy any new freezer containers.
I have a couple of ideas:

1. We only have 3 ice cube trays but we regularly empty out the ice into a different storage container to fill up the cubes with juice that's about to go bad or whatever. Then we empty the juice cubes into a different container and refill with ice.

2. If you have a melon baller, you can make melon balls and freeze them on a cookie sheet then transfer into a storage container. I did this last year when we grew watermelons. They actually make great ice for water - just a tiny bit of flavor or you can use them in smoothies or whatever.

HTH!

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#15 of 26 Old 06-24-2008, 12:52 PM
 
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I have a couple of ideas:

1. We only have 3 ice cube trays but we regularly empty out the ice into a different storage container to fill up the cubes with juice that's about to go bad or whatever. Then we empty the juice cubes into a different container and refill with ice.

2. If you have a melon baller, you can make melon balls and freeze them on a cookie sheet then transfer into a storage container. I did this last year when we grew watermelons. They actually make great ice for water - just a tiny bit of flavor or you can use them in smoothies or whatever.

HTH!
I love the melon baller idea!!!

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#16 of 26 Old 06-26-2008, 06:09 AM
 
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Aww, man, are there any good ideas for the egg cartons then? I'm on WIC too, and while I feel bad for using all these cartons, it really does help me out financially right now. I've heard of saving them for building blocks for baby later, and I've also heard of putting them up on freecycle or something similar if you live in a rural community.

I'm starting to ask myself if my use of WIC is worth it financially versus trying to do my best for the environment. But that's a whole other thread.
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#17 of 26 Old 06-26-2008, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Aww, man, are there any good ideas for the egg cartons then? I'm on WIC too, and while I feel bad for using all these cartons, it really does help me out financially right now. I've heard of saving them for building blocks for baby later, and I've also heard of putting them up on freecycle or something similar if you live in a rural community.

I'm starting to ask myself if my use of WIC is worth it financially versus trying to do my best for the environment. But that's a whole other thread.
Well, they can certainly be used to safely store non-food items, such as organizing sewing notions or different kinds of nails and screws. Or to make ice cubes that won't be used for food- asy to fill up a freezer so it's more fuel efficient or to use in ice packs for boo-boos.

I just don't know if any of those uses will require quite as many egg cartons that you probably aquire with WIC. I have yet to find a good use for the paper egg cartons I get from Trader Joe's, other than to keep extras on top of the fridge so that I can transfer eggs from styrofoam to cardboard when I buy them at stores that sell them in styrofoam, since the paper cartons fit better in my fridge.

I wouldn't hesitate to use egg cartons as ice cube trays in a pinch, when I'm truly out of options and want to avoid wasting food, but once I get a little extra cash I plan to get some better quality, safer popsicle molds and/or extra ice cube trays.

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#18 of 26 Old 06-26-2008, 01:55 PM
 
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Aww, man, are there any good ideas for the egg cartons then?
I use the foam ones to hold small portions of paint for the kids' artwork. They like to mix their own colors and this way I don't end up with 10 shades of brown in the big bottles. Plus it keeps it from drying out for a few days.
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#19 of 26 Old 06-26-2008, 02:14 PM
 
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I use the foam ones to hold small portions of paint for the kids' artwork. They like to mix their own colors and this way I don't end up with 10 shades of brown in the big bottles. Plus it keeps it from drying out for a few days.
We use ours for painting, too.
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#20 of 26 Old 06-26-2008, 04:14 PM
 
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Well, why can't you just line the darned things, then? I wash and re-use what little cling-wrap I use anyway.

I had no idea styrofoam was that bad, either. But now I want to puree some melon Someone tell me there is no serious hazard in frozen food against cling-wrap? That's a fairly safe alternative, right?

OT- I'm extremely lucky that my recycle guy will take styrofam egg cartons, because I can't get WIC approved eggs in cardboard. We were just talking about it-because i wanted paper ones to start seeds with.

---feeling like an emu on acid---
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#21 of 26 Old 06-26-2008, 04:29 PM
 
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We usually use the foam ones for crafts, as well.

A farmer at the farmer's market takes the cardboard ones to reuse. You might want to check with a local farm to see if they're interested.
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#22 of 26 Old 06-27-2008, 01:59 PM
 
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OT- I'm extremely lucky that my recycle guy will take styrofam egg cartons, because I can't get WIC approved eggs in cardboard. We were just talking about it-because i wanted paper ones to start seeds with.

I thought styrofoam couldn't be recycled? Do you think he just throws it away?

Or maybe he's some really cool artist and makes awsome colages or sculptures using them!

The paper egg cartons can be used to start seeds, can be filled with dryer lint and used as fire starters for your fireplace or can be shredded up and put in the compost pile. I'm also sure if you take them to a farmer's market they can be reused.

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#23 of 26 Old 06-27-2008, 03:26 PM
 
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Or maybe he's some really cool artist and makes awsome colages or sculptures using them!
He is! He was one of my art professors in college. He was also one of the local elementary art teachers up until last year. Then he quit teaching to be a full time recycling guy and artist... So he donates some of it to the elementary schools, some of it is going for his parade float, some is going for these huge 3-D fiber-and-trash murals. Very much into the "re-use" aspect of the 3 Rs... he also gives free pick-up to schools and churches, so most of the stuff he "donates" ends up back in his truck for recycling later.

As to it being recyclable, the #6 is recycleable, but few places take it. I believe he only makes that trip once or twice a year to haul it off. I'll have to ask him. Dh is his "web-designer" so we should be getting pictures of the different places he takes everything to very soon. I'l be happy to post the link once it's up.

---feeling like an emu on acid---
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#24 of 26 Old 06-27-2008, 08:26 PM
 
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Oh my goodness!!! That's too funny!!!

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#25 of 26 Old 07-01-2008, 01:46 PM
 
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Egg cartons are great for filling space in a box when you're packing something fragile (or just in a too-big box) for storage or mailing.

Thixle: Cling-wrap is often made from PVC, the most dangerous plastic.

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#26 of 26 Old 07-09-2008, 08:34 PM
 
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I thought styrofoam couldn't be recycled? Do you think he just throws it away?
They are polystyrene and marked with a #6 recycling symbol. Some places recycle them but not mine. There is actually a place where you can mail polystyrene for recycling (not so crazy since it is so light) but they don't take egg cartons or meat trays, presumably for bacteria concerns.

I just managed to freecycle three kitchen sized bags full of stacked egg cartons! My brother was going to build a sound booth with them.

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