Why Do Americans Waste an Egg Carton?
In the US, there are more than 2.5 billion egg cartons left on store shelves each year.
But the number of cartons is only a fraction of the total number of eggs produced.
In fact, Americans produce only 0.06% of the world’s eggs.
To put that in perspective, there’s more than half of the eggs consumed in the US in the form of eggs.
It’s easy to see why Americans don’t have as much of an appetite for egg-laying animals.
According to a recent study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, American consumption of eggs is almost entirely driven by people in the upper class, who consume more eggs than anyone else.
“When we talk about eggs, it’s the people at the top of the food chain who are consuming most of them,” says Dr. Michael Fischhoff, a professor at the UIC School of Public Health and a member of the U.S. Egg Board.
In the past few years, Americans have been eating more eggs from animals raised in factory farms than from egg farms that are certified organic.
But it’s a small fraction of total egg production.
“We’re only eating about 6% of all eggs we produce, and the rest goes to feed chickens,” says Fischhof.
In 2013, about 10% of egg production was produced from factory farms, and that number is projected to increase to about 15% by 2040.
“People in the middle and upper class are also consuming more eggs, but the difference is that they’re using fewer eggs,” Fischbeck explains.
“The difference is we’re consuming fewer eggs than we used to.”
Egg cartons and waste disposal regulations Egg carton packaging is no different than any other packaging.
This is an important distinction because people often refer to packaging as “egg,” even though the egg is the product itself.
“It’s like a bag of chips,” Fitchhoff says.
“You can get all sorts of things with it, but it’s not an egg.”
While egg cartins aren’t technically considered waste products, people are concerned about them because they’re packaged in a way that is often used by people for food.
Fitchhohn explains that most eggs come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
“Most eggs come packaged in little boxes or boxes with different names,” he says.
These egg boxes can be used for cooking purposes, but they can also be used to store raw egg.
If eggs are left out in the open, the packaging can become a source of eggs and other waste.
Fischhhoff says that egg packaging is becoming more common, and there’s evidence that people are also being more mindful about their food waste.
He says that there are a number of regulations that have come down in recent years that are making egg packaging more sanitary and safer for people.
The most recent federal regulation comes in 2015, which requires that all egg cartens be labeled with a label that shows the amount of raw eggs that were used in the packaging.
In addition, eggs are now required to be labeled on the packaging, and eggs are also required to have labels on the top, bottom and sides of the egg cartin.
“A lot of egg packaging that people use for food ends up in landfills and end up not being recyclable,” says Sarah McEwan, a food waste specialist with the Food Waste Alliance.
“And so if you put eggs in a carton that’s left out, it ends up not only being wasted, but you’re putting eggs out there that are more likely to end up in landfill.”
The rules for egg carten packaging were finalized in 2018, and they apply to eggs sold at most retail outlets, as well as at farmers markets and at grocery stores.
Egg cartins can be found in the grocery store, but consumers should check to make sure they are labeled according to federal guidelines.
“If you’re at the supermarket, you’re going to see eggs that have no label, no tags, no labels,” says McEwin.
“That’s when you really need to get the egg labeled, to make it a waste product.”
Fitchhof explains that egg cartas are usually labeled with the following information: brand name, expiration date, egg weight, weight per package, color and size of carton.
“These are the ingredients that make up the egg itself, so it’s kind of like a food product,” Fiskhoff says, “and it’s supposed to be treated the same as other food products.”
Fischohn says the labels are a good starting point for egg producers.
“There’s a whole lot of information out there about egg packaging, but there’s really not much guidance,” he explains.
Fiskhohn says that the egg industry is working on a few new egg packaging standards.
But most egg producers will continue to use traditional packaging, which is typically used for eggs sold