When deciding on new packaging for our organic eggs in 2012, we wanted to know which type of carton would reflect our B Corp values and dedication to the environment. So we worked with a third-party to conduct a life cycle anaylsis of the options available on the market. They found (what is now our) RPET plastic to be "vastly superior" to pulp. Read on to learn more.
Words by: Jesse Laflamme
A question that we get a lot usually goes like this: “I love your eggs and your commitment to animal welfare and the environment, but why do you use plastic egg cartons? Isn’t that worse for the environment?”
It’s an excellent question. We’ve all come to see plastic as bad. It’s derived from a non-renewable source (oil), it doesn’t decompose for a very long time, and these days, a lot of it is winding into the oceans (see Pacific Garbage Patch and Microbeads Pollution). So it’s understandable that it has a bad reputation.
On the other hand, the molded pulp cartons and the polystyrene foam cartons are not environmental home runs either, for many of the same reasons. So what’s a well-meaning person to do?
We hired Quantis, a Canadian research company specializing in the environmental impact of products, to do a complete Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Egg Cartons for us in 2012.
Quantis looked across the raw material sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, and end of life/recycling aspects for RPET (our recycled PET clear package), virgin PET, Recycled Molded Pulp (RMP) and Polystyrene (commonly known as styrofoam). They scored that as a total Carbon/Climate Change footprint score based on all of those life stages. They also scored them on the basis of Human Health, Ecosystem Quality, and Resource Depletion measures.
The RPET carton that we use was determined to be superior, or vastly superior, to both the Molded Pulp and Polystyrene as a whole, and across all of the individual life stages, with the one exception – it has a slightly higher manufacturing impact than recycled pulp. It is worth noting that the worst option was typically the PET plastic made from virgin plastic. That’s because of the high amount of fossil fuels required both as energy and raw material in its production. This is what large 2-liter soda bottles are made from (so think about that the next time you’re considering buying soda). We take the recycled material from those containers to make our cartons. The tri-fold PET also has an important consumer benefit in that it provides the best protection for the eggs while allowing you to see the unbroken eggs without opening the carton in the store.
Once used, our cartons can then be placed right back in the recycling stream for another trip through the system. Paper pulp can also be recycled. Styrofoam all goes to the landfill to wait for the end of time.
While we wish we could sell our eggs in wooden boxes or wicker baskets that were re-used over and over, we feel as though we’ve arrived at the best possible solution we can for the time being. We ask that you always recycle your Pete and Gerry’s cartons after use and we can continue to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible. And thank you for bringing our eggs home in a reusable canvas bag as well.
August 19, 2019
i visited your site to understand why you were using the plastic containers. Sounds like you did your homework.
It would be really nice if there was a way to reuse the container. It appears to be expensive to make.
Also, i understand that most plastics are ending up in landfill these days since China and other countries are no longer buying recycled plastic from us.
August 20, 2019
Thank you for the feedback, we appreciate hearing your thoughts. Please know that we'll be glad to pass your feedback along to our team, as it helps us to decide future packaging needs. We wish we were able to reuse them as well, but because of strict food packaging guidelines, we're unable to sanitize them here at our farms for reuse. We have heard some great ideas from other consumers on how they are reusing the cartons. From mini greenhouses to start spring seedlings, to donations to local art programs, as well as containers to hold jewelry, we have received some great suggestions. We welcome any suggestions you may have as well.
Please don't hesitate to reach out anytime.
August 14, 2019
My husband and I are "o-l-d" and have had free-range hens (and one rooster) for several years, replacing as needed. The yolks on our eggs are nearly orange! Your fine production of eggs - matches and sometimes surpasses ours in color. Also, they are delicious! I have not found any other organic, store egg that comes near to your eggs. There is a difference in taste, nutrition, quality when farming is done right. Thank you very much for "old-school" values that still teach today.
August 15, 2019
Margaret, you just made our day. We're thrilled to hear that our eggs even compare to the ones that your own free range hens lay! It's an honor to be your first choice when you need an extra dozen or two from the grocery store. Thank you for treating your flock like family and for supporting our partner farmers, who do the same with theirs!
August 13, 2019
Great to see that you've taken the time to research the best carton option. Two suggestions..
Consider making packaging notation showing how earth friendly it is, and say Please recycle this carton.
Because many people avoid eggs sold in plastic
Maybe rethink your suggestion to take home eggs in recycled canvas bag, see interesting article..
Thanks for the feedback, Sue! We'll definitely pass this feedback on to our team for future packaging needs. Thank you for taking the time to reach out.
August 12, 2019
Our town only accepts 1, 2, and 5 plastic reycle items. Where do I find the number on the egg carton?
Hi Peggy! Great news! Our cartons are considered a #1 plastic and they are the most widely recycled. Depending on the carton manufacturer, the #1 stamp should be near where the eggs are, just outside of the plastic cup, on the bottom section that the egg is in. Please let us know if you don't find it, we're happy to help!
August 06, 2019
You have great tasting eggs and we search out organic products for our consumption, but your cartons really bug me. We winter in Mexico and see plastic trash everywhere. I told my wife that I was going to send the cartons back to you, to be spiteful, but I had to chuckle when I saw your take back program. Excellent tactic. LOL. It would cost us the equivalent of a dozen eggs to send them back to you. Your study is all well and good, and in Louisville, CO, Boulder County, we are required to pay for recycle bins that get picked up every two weeks, however, the plastic is ending up in landfills, because no one wants it, as there is so much plastic that cannot be recycled and not enough manufacturers (cocacola co.) committed to recycle them. At least the pulp cartons can be burned as kindling or turned into insulation or other paper products. Styrofoam is out of the question. Plus your eggs consume a lot of energy to be shipped from NH to CO so I am wondering how much of the $6 price tag we are paying for a dozen is transportation costs?
I like the idea of some others here that they drop off the cartons to local egg producers, but then... maybe we should just buy locally, anyway. Your concepts and marketing are commendable, but, I told Becky not to buy P&G until we see biodegradable pulp cartons. Right now the value isn't there, but what price health?
August 03, 2019
Most places don’t recycle the plastic egg carton you use. I recycle the paper pulp cartons and will only buy those. I will do whatever I can to reduce plastic.
Hi Shelley! Thank you for the feedback, we appreciate hearing your thoughts. We know that it’s our responsibility as a company to educate consumers when it comes to recycling, which is why we’ve started a takeback program for folks who don’t have access to a recycling center that accepts #1 plastics. We use this program as an opportunity to open up the conversation and further ensure that our cartons aren’t ending up in the waste stream. We've set aside some barn storage space here at our home farm for these takeback cartons, and once we have enough, they'll be taken up to our carton manufacturer's facilities to be melted and molded into new cartons and other product packaging. Please know that we'll be glad to pass your feedback along to our team, as it helps us to decide future packaging needs. Please don't hesitate to reach out anytime.
July 27, 2019
I appreciate your efforts in addressing the recycling problem. However, I fear that most of your packing is winding up in the Pacific Garbage Patch or landfills. Since China is no longer taking recycling, communities collecting the recycling are just dumping the plastic with the rest of the household garbage. Even if China was still collecting plastic, what is the environmental impact of shipping plastic and how environmentally responsible are they with the plastic collected and recycled?
Perhaps the solution is when designing an environmentally package also asking what is the impact in the REAL world. While it is great to believe your packages are being recycled, I fear you will find most of them in the Pacific Garbage Patch or in landfills. I feel more comfortable buying eggs in a recycled molded pulp container as this has a better chance of being recycled and does decompose.
July 29, 2019
Thank you very much for the feedback about our cartons. We really value hearing from our consumers about what they do like or don't like about our current packaging choice. We understand there is an excess of plastic in our world today, and in addition to a great deal of other research and thought we have put into the selection of our carton, one of the aspects we do feel good about is that we are actually helping to put that surplus of plastic already produced back to good use.
It's our understanding that landfills are not actually designed to allow proper biodegradation, because they are compacted and thus create an anaerobic environment. Unfortunately, this means they're really just a place to store garbage, not for it to decompose. So regardless of the paper or plastic packaging, the waste remains in the ground. Here are some insightful articles on that topic in case you are interested in reading more:
Given this information, we are again encouraged to pull some of that waste back out of those landfills and find a use for it as our egg cartons, to at least do our part in keeping it out of those landfills a little longer and preventing the production of any new materials, such as new paper cartons, that would only add to that surplus of stored trash.
We also know that it’s our responsibility as a company to educate consumers when it comes to recycling, which is why we’ve started a takeback program for folks who don’t have access to a recycling center that accepts #1 plastics. We use this program as an opportunity to open up the conversation and further ensure that our cartons aren’t ending up in the waste stream. We've set aside some barn storage space here at our home farm for these takeback cartons, and once we have enough, they'll be taken up to our carton manufacturer's facilities to be melted and molded into new cartons and other product packaging.
We are so grateful for your willingness to talk about what is important to you when you purchase eggs and your consideration for our great Earth. Please know that we'll be glad to pass your feedback along to our team, as it helps us to decide future packaging needs. Please don't hesitate to reach out anytime.
July 01, 2019
You need to stamp the recycling code number into your plastic cartons. Our recycling center will not take anything if they cannot see the code in the plastic itself.
Hi Nelson. Thank you for reaching out. Our cartons are typically stamped on the inside of one of the egg cups with the "1" and symbol. It may be a bit difficult to see depending on the lighting. Please let us know if you have trouble recycling the cartons or finding the code, we're happy to help! Our email address is: [email protected]
June 29, 2019
Regarding the recycling problem. I’m happy you have gone to great lengths to find the most eco friendly packaging.
I recycle when I can and have been for 45 years. I have 2 friends who have chickens; I give them empty egg cartons so they can use them to share or sell eggs to others.
June 30, 2019
Thank you for doing your part to recycle and reuse, Marlene!
June 21, 2019
I respect that your company was thoughtful enough to hire an environmental impact research company to put together a "Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Egg Cartons." I appreciate that you offer to send shipping labels to facilitate return of your plastic cartons as well. You obviously have put time, effort, and money into an attempt to lessen the carbon footprint that your business and its' products create. I would like to note however, that the study was done in 2012. While not ancient, in terms of science it is a very old study. Perhaps physicians should utilize studies from 2012 to treat patients even though newer evidence-based information is available? In a dynamic environment, it is important to utilize best-practice methods that are informed by current evidence. While the take back program is a noble idea, what weight is given to the fuel consumption and emissions generated in returning them to you, and then you returning them to a recycler? Has your company continued to look for more eco-friendly packaging options? Has the decrease in availability of recycling programs changed the metric? How many return labels were issued through the take-back program in each of the last 5 years? Is this take-back program displayed on your packaging? Jesse Laflamme (above) claims "we feel as though we’ve arrived at the best possible solution we can for the time being." However, feelings are not science, science continues to change, and perhaps it is time to re-investigate if your use of plastic packaging should continue. Perhaps your company should pressure your carton manufacturer to redesign the carton to eliminate the "third-lid" while keeping your product safe. Perhaps a re-vamp of the label to advertise the take-back program? Just some thoughts...
Hi Eric! Thank you for your thoughtful feedback. It's true that the study was done a few years ago, but we do believe the science remains relevant and that we're keeping up with the current research and trends out on the market. We appreciate your suggestion to consider conducting another research study in the near future. We have just launched our take-back program rather recently, but we love the idea of investigating the efficacy of the program and recognize that there is an environmental impact to returning the cartons (which is why we ask that they're sent back in bulk). We will continue to make efforts to market our take-back program going forward. We're also working on redesigning our packaging and seeing what innovations we can make to it in order to be the best environmental stewards. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your feedback and suggestions. We'll certainly keep them in mind going forward.
But areas are refusing to accept plastic now that China won't take it.
Hi Ms. M! We hear your concerns. This is why we have started our take-back program to make sure our cartons go to a facility where they will be responsibly recycled. Our customers can send us their cartons back, if their area of the country doesn't accept number 1 plastics. Thank you for your concern for our environment!
June 19, 2019
Hi, If I request a label and return my cartons to you, what will you do with them? I'm curious if it would be anything better than taking them to my local recycler.
Hi Laura! Thanks for reaching out to us and thank you for recycling your cartons! If you're able to recycle them where you are, that's wonderful. If you would prefer that we recycle them for you, we're absolutely happy to send a prepaid label to you. We have a relationship with a company that takes our cartons to be recycled as well. Feel free to drop us a line if we can answer any other questions: [email protected] Thanks!
June 14, 2019
Where can we recycle your cartons currently? It is labeled #1 and currently our recycling hauler does not take this in Eugene OR. Are you aware of places that will take this plastic in my area? I gladly save and recycle the #2,4 and 5 containers for periodic collections in Eugene and would do the same for your product and share the information with friends so that they might purchase your product as well. Thanks.
Hi Marilyn! We're sorry to hear that you're not able to recycle some of the containers you've been saving. If you'd like to send us an email to: [email protected] and let us know how many cartons you have, we'll be glad to send you a prepaid label to get them back so that we can recycle them. As for recycling them near you, if you have zero sort recycling, our cartons are considered a #1 plastic, so you should be able to recycle them with other #1 items. #1 is the most widely recycled plastic there is. We'd be glad to give your recycling center a call and see what we can find out for you. Feel free to send us an email. Thanks for reaching out!
After conducting our own research and removing some of your study’s absurd assumptions such as all of your plastic cartons will be recycled locally, when in fact the vast majority won’t be recycled at all, anywhere and a large percentage of those that are recycled will be shipped over seas for recycling where environmental controls will be questionable at best and shipping requirements change the energy consumption and environmental impact significantly. Your result oriented study was looking for a positive reason for your use of plastic over a paper product, your study does not appear to have been comprehensive and completely objective, but rather merely looking for evidence that supports the conclusion you were looking for. We have decided to switch egg suppliers after several years of using your good quality eggs unless and until you switch your packaging. We also believe you should publish you complete study on your website.
Hi! Thanks for the feedback. We're happy to pass this on to our team. The study was actually completed by Quantis, a third-party research company. We would be happy to send a copy to you if you have not seen it. Please send us a message to: [email protected] and we'll be glad to send it to you. We're actually working on putting the study on the website and hope to have that available soon. Thanks!
June 11, 2019
Thank you! Was concerned about the packaging. Concern allayed! Cheers
June 12, 2019
You're so very welcome, Johann. We're glad we could ease your concerns and instill more confidence in our company.
June 09, 2019
What do the chickens eat? Do you feed them corn and soy? I have a gluten allergy. I am looking for eggs that are grain free and no GMO‘s or anabiotic‘s of course. pasture raised eggs! I have purchased your eggs but not sure exactly what you feed them so that’s why this is my question?
June 10, 2019
Hi Alta! Excellent question. Our Certified Humane Free Range hens spend most of their days foraging outdoors for bugs and tasty greens, but unlike cows or sheep, they are not ruminants and cannot subsist solely on the organic pasture that’s available to them. That’s why we provide our hens with a supplementary feed containing USDA Certified Organic corn and soy. The soy is a great source of additional protein, while the corn provides carbohydrates. There is also a wide range of other beneficial nutrients and minerals in our feed that help to keep the hens healthy, like electrolytes and sodium bicarbonate.
Although gluten is not contained in soy, corn, or the wheat midds that the chickens occasionally eat, we unfortunately cannot guarantee that the feed is completely gluten-free. Our feed ingredients can change slightly depending on flock age and time of year, and the ingredients will sometimes include small amounts of barley and/or rye. Though we have not heard of any gluten allergies or sensitivities being triggered by the consumption of our eggs, we encourage you to contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns of this nature.
No matter how you justify it, at the end of the day, we are still putting a plastic carton into a landfill. I can't do that.
Hi David! We agree that throwing things in the landfill is never the answer. You can recycle our cartons, because they are a number 1 plastic. Since our cartons are made of plastic that already exists, we think we're making a good choice. We thank you for your feedback!
our recycle won't take 1's so it goes in the landfill. pulp, perhaps in future made of biodegradable hemp will be better....loved the eggs, good shells so the birds are getting proper calcium I conjecture. wish the cartons were a biodegradable.
Hi Mary. That's an excellent idea. We're sorry to hear about your recycling facility refusing to take #1s. We'd be happy to take the cartons off your hand and send you a label to ship them back--just send us an email at [email protected] Thanks again for your candid feedback.
June 08, 2019
I wonder what a life-cycle analysis of reuse, rather than recycling, of your cartons would show. Since much of the plastic will end up in the ocean regardless of your efforts to encourage recycling, reuse might be a better option.
It would require developing a program with stores to provide for customers returning the containers (possibly with a deposit on purchase and refund on return) and shipping the containers back. It would also require some type of quality control to ensure that the containers are clean enough to safely reuse.
Thanks for doing what you already do for the quality of your product and for your concern for the environment.
(I just saw Steven Y’s comment and your response. I’ll have to study it more, but I’m sending my comment anyway 🙂)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and suggestions, Al! Unfortunately, reuse of our containers is prohibited as part of the food safety standards we have to adhere to as you noted. We certainly are always continuing to search for ways to innovate and testing out other options while still following those laws, and it would be wonderful if we can find a new process such as you described that would work in the future. Given we produce no plastic materials for our cartons and only use what is already out in the world, we feel good that we are keeping that plastic in useful rotation and out of the landfull as long as possible, and again we will continue to look for other options in the future that we feel offer an even better solution.
June 07, 2019
I appreciate the thought you put into packaging. I appreciate your responsiveness to comments, and the aim of your Takeback Program. But at such large scales of egg production there are no good options for packaging manufacturing and waste stream impacts on the environment, only best of the worst. Our modern packaging culture needs to be reformed, environmental education improved and packaging needs to shift to truly environmentally friendly options. Although your environmental cost analysis of carton options is important, as many have pointed out the reality is that PET egg carton recycling is ineffective. It is not available to most and not realistic to expect individual consumers to make the extra effort to return cartons through your Takeback Program on a meaningful scale. Such realistic assumptions need to be included when analyzing the comparative environmental costs of different packaging materials and determining future packaging. Also it is unclear if the harm to ecosystems and the environment including aquatic systems by improperly disposed plastics and the effects of microbeads and other plastic contaminants are included in the analysis. You state that recycled PET is clearly a better environmental choice than recycled pulp for egg cartons. But aside from the claim that pulp does not biodegrade in anaerobic landfill environments I did not see further information. An up front accounting of all the different life cycle impacts of RPET vs RMP would be clarifying. A link on your website to the Quantis report would be convenient.
Hi Steven! Thank you so much for taking the time to learn more about our decision to use our plastic packaging, because we understand what an important issue this is, and how it can certainly seem like a counter-intuitive conclusion.
The study is quite lengthy, but we'd be happy to send it your way. Simply send us an email at [email protected] and we'll attach it as a file. We believe at this time that access to recycling is much greater than composting--most people are even less likely to compost than they are to recycle. When it is universally accessible then that will certainly weigh more on our decision.
Because our cartons are made from 100% recycled materials (essentially soda and water bottles that were headed to the landfill), we have a fairly minimal manufacturing process that is required to get from recycled bottles to carton, because we aren’t using virgin plastic materials which require much more extensive manufacturing. This same extensive manufacturing is required even if you are starting with virgin paper or pulp materials as well and this small carbon footprint (thus less CO2 in the atmosphere) has led to our choice to use these cartons.
Regarding the changing environment around plastic recycling across the globe, we are always taking steps to constantly re-evaluate and improve our packaging based on what is happening in the world around us and any new innovations that may become available. We feel that we’re making a good choice in reusing materials that are already headed for the landfill, and we’re proud to have made that decision based on research and real data. We certainly understand and respect the commitment you have made to the environment, and recognize your concerns, but we also hope that with the explanation above you can still feel that our eggs can function as a part of that commitment.
Lastly, I’d like to invite you to provide any additional feedback you may have on this form which we created in response to concerns just like yours, to consolidate consumer insights to pass along to our packaging team and inform further innovation: http://fal.cn/PGOfeedback.
Thank you again for your feedback!
Thanks for your response and the opportunity to provide feedback further in the link you provided. Great that you have this blog, and that you are striving for better solutions. But you did not adequately respond to my main points. As I said I do not view the Takeback program (or other) initiatives for the consumer to recycle PET cartons as realistic, so that should be devalued in your comparative evaluation. It is more of a vision than a result. In contrast, pulp (paper) cartons are more readily recycled. But mostly, as I said, your blog leaves consumers somewhat in the dark how RPET compares to recycled pulp cartons. There is simply your claim that RPET is "superior" in terms of smaller life cycle impacts, except in its manufacture (seems an important distinction), and that pulp cartons (also) do not decompose in anaerobic landfill environments. How about providing a summary of the comparative results up front, in this blog? It could be a link if you think it would be too distracting. That would be more informative and transparent than leaving us guessing, or having to acquire and read the underlying report. That can always be a next step. On the other hand I do appreciate that you are using recycled plastic as the source for your egg cartons. Although that is a can of worms too, for example it would seem to increase demand for plastic products. I also wonder if the tri-fold RPET cartons are really superior from a marketing perspective. They seem to alienate consumers like me who are skeptical about RPET vs paper cartons. I understand the points about being able to see the eggs through the plastic, and how it may better protect the eggs. But are those pivotal features in making the RPET vs pulp decision? Again, a summary as I suggest could make it easier for consumers to evaluate such choices.
Hi Steven. Thank you for your honest, thoughtful reply. The take-back program is something we are currently piloting, and we haven't done a study where we fully take that program into consideration. It is already growing and has been successful in the first few months. Thank you for your suggestion to add another blog post bringing down the science more in depth. We believe in being transparent and forthcoming as possible with our information, so again, we'd be happy to send you the lengthy study if you provide us with an email. The few pages I would refer you to would be the chart on page 5, and the conclusion write up on pages 47-48. I’ll also just start by letting you know when you look at the study, our style of carton is referred to as “Eco 13” or “Eco 14.” There have also been many studies showing how much excess plastic exists in the world, so we believe we're making good use of it keeping the RPET out of the landfill. Thank you again for your thoughtful comments and we'll be sure to keep your points in mind as we continue with carton redesign.
June 03, 2019
Only 25% of recycling is actually recycled. I understand your perspective regarding using recycled plastic however, it's really pointless if the package I once again buy as plastic doesn't get recycled. I'd like to support your company but I'll stick to buying the packaging that decomposes naturally.
Hi Nancy. Thank you for taking the time to read our post. We do think that limiting our carbon emissions is of paramount importance in this day and age when pulp takes so much more energy to produce. Unfortunately, if those pulp cartons aren't recycled properly or thrown into the landfill they actually will not decompose. In an anaerobic landfill, the molded paper is unable to break down without oxygen and the carton suffers a similar fate to the plastic one. We are proponents of recycling, and we hope to see more facilities making a push to truly recycle all materials. This is also why we offer our take-back program to recycle our cartons responsibly. Thank you for sharing your perspective.
June 02, 2019
CANNOT PUT BACK INTO RECYCLING STREAM BECAUSE:
only plastic bottles can be put back. Recyclers stopped taking
plastic egg cartons and vegetable tubs so they go right into the
garbage and and polluting, polluting, polluting!!!
So GO TO PAPER CARTONS TO RECYCLE PLEASE!!!
Hi Gloria. We understand your frustration. It's unfortunate to hear that some recyclers have stopped taking our cartons. We do offer our take-back program for those who would like their egg cartons to be recycled responsibly. We know that recycling programs can vary in their structure and protocols around recycling. We hope that more facilities will adopt responsible practices. Thank you again for your feedback!
May 31, 2019
I just can’t get over buying that amount of plastic each week.
Hi Heather. We understand your concerns. We think that by recycling them into the appropriate bins, you're doing the responsible thing for our environment. There are also great ways to up-cycle and reuse the cartons yourself! We have some ideas for growing seedlings in our cartons on our blog.
May 30, 2019
We are kidding ourselves if we believe in the “recycling” system here in the US. We need to have packaging that wil decompose in the ground. Nobody wants recycling anymore. It is a sad hoax on us. I love your products and efforts! Thank you!
Hi Carolyn. You're definitely right that the current recycling system in the U.S. needs to be vastly improved. We hope cities like San Francisco will continue to lead the way with their innovative ideas and inspire the rest of the country to adopt similar practices. As more research and innovation arises, we will certainly continue to strive to improve our carton design.
May 26, 2019
My town (Kittery, Maine) is no longer recycling PET containers other than drink bottles. Do you have a suggestion (other than buying eggs in paper pulp)? I have enjoyed your eggs for five years and don't want to change.
May 28, 2019
Hi there, Neil! That is an excellent question. We do have our take-back program up and running, so we'd be more than happy to take the RPET containers off your hands. Could you send us an email at [email protected]? Once you do that, we can send you more information and a shipping label. Thanks!
May 19, 2019
How do I know these plastic containers are actually being recycled?
May 20, 2019
Great question, Nancy. The most important step to take to ensure that your recyclables are actually being recycled is to make sure they're clean before bringing them to your local transfer station. As for our takeback cartons (which you may have read about in the comments here), we are storing them in an empty barn and will be bringing them up to our carton manufacturer's facilities ourselves to ensure that they're being recycled in a responsible way.
May 18, 2019
I do everything I can to recycle as much as possible. My question how do I recycle your cartons? With other plastics, metal etc?
Hi Todd. Thanks for the question, it's a great one. Our cartons are considered a #1 plastic. The way you recycle in your community may be different than another person's way. Do you have trash and recycling pick up curbside or do you take your items to the recycling center? Typically our cartons can be recycled with any type of other plastic with the same #1 number on it. Usually plastics are sorted by number, but some places have 'zero sort' facilities where everything is put in one container and they sort it for you. Water bottles, juice containers, salad containers, etc. These are examples of #1 plastic. It may be best to contact your local town/city office and ask to speak to the waste management or recycling center. They can point you in the right direction. We're happy to help you find yours if you'd like to send us an email at: [email protected] Thanks for the great question!
May 17, 2019
I think the trifold cartons have three issues (one is not addressed by other commenters): the cartons vary quite a bit as to how thick the plastic is. Some are reasonably stiff, but some are so thin and flexible that on more than one occasion I came close to spilling all the eggs out onto the floor trying to open it without setting it on the counter first. The issues already mentioned are, some entire regions have no recycling at all, so you have only the advantage of the first cycle from soda bottles (wherever you get them, not my area.) The other is the added hassle of the inner cover. For ease of handling, water resistance, and low weight, I think the styrofoam is best. It may not break down in a landfill, but it burns great.
Your eggs have shells twice as tough as common eggs, so much added protection comes from your flock.
Thanks for the feedback, Stan. You're right, there can be a little variance on the plastic thickness, it all depends on what is being recycled and remade into the cartons. So sorry o hear that you've had this issue. As for recycling availability, we do understand that some locations are not able to do so, which is why we're glad to have introduced a take-back program. We will actually pay the shipping to get the cartons back, so that we can recycle them. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and if you'd like to hear more about the program or have any other questions, please do let us know!
May 13, 2019
please let me know the best way and where to recycle your egg packaging.
May 14, 2019
Thanks for your question, Elizabeth! Our containers are made out of the most widely recycled plastic material (#1 plastic), so you should just be able to take them to your local recycling center. If for some reason they wouldn't accept them, you can always mail them back to us through our takeback program, which you can learn more about by emailing us at [email protected] Used cartons also make great organizational containers for things like ornaments and desk supplies, paint palettes for kids, and even craft project supplies like you'll see in our Instagram posts.
April 29, 2019
This is a really great resource!So much useful information and handy tips, thank you =)
April 30, 2019
Of course, Darrell! Thank you so much for taking the time to read through all this information and we appreciate you sharing your thoughts as well!
Hello Again, A thought about your take back program. How about finding a way to sterilize and re-use your take back containers that are in perfect condition upon return.
That is a great idea, Ken, but unfortunately, FDA and USDA food safety rules ban us from reusing our cartons in that manner. The reason our takeback program is permitted is because those cartons are fully melted and re-molded into new cartons and other product packaging. If you have any other questions, please let us know, and thanks again for your comments!
While I agree with your concept of using RPET in your new cartons removing used Virgin PET From the waste stream, I see this as problematic on two fronts. The first one is that in providing a market for used virgin PET, you are just adding to the excuses manufacturers can quote when using virgin PET to contain their products. The second problem I have is that overall, only about 10% of recyclable collected are actually recycled into new products. With china no longer collecting outside plastic and the USA being the major consumer of worldwide plastics, the chain is broken. Unfortunately, the carbon trapped in plastic are accumulating in our oceans, in the air (even in Greenland and the Antarctic) as microparticles. I believe that Pulp containers are a better choice. Paper products come from a renewable resource - trees - that keep peoples in our forest areas employed and can be sustainable through proper forst management practices. Additionally, through composting, the carbon that captured in paper can be recycled back into plants and the earth soil. Sad to say, your plastic packaging has eliminated your products from my grocery choices.
We're sorry to hear that, Ken, and while we do still feel that we have chosen our cartons for the right reasons in consideration of both our customers and the planet, we respect your decision and hope you are able to find what you are looking for in the egg aisle. I will be sure to share your feedback with my team.
April 27, 2019
This is a huge concern of mine! Thanks for the effort and info
Our pleasure, Natalie! We saw your other comment about our takeback program as well. Please email us at [email protected] and we'll get you set up!
April 24, 2019
Confirming that the "Tri-Fold PET" that you talked about is actually made from R-PET and not regular/virgin PET
April 25, 2019
That's correct, SS. Our tri-fold cartons are made from RPET, but since virgin PET tri-fold cartons are a fairly common option in the egg aisle, we made sure that they were represented in the life cycle analysis as well (and as expected, they have a higher carbon footprint than post-consumer PET). We hope that helps clarify those terms!
April 06, 2019
Hello, I love your eggs but wanted to know if your egg cartons have BPA in the plastic?
April 08, 2019
Great question, Mary! Our cartons are made from #1 plastic and they do not have any BPA in them. If you have any other questions, please let us know!
April 05, 2019
Plastic is not accepted in all curbside recycling pick up programs, therefore for those communities your cartons go straight to a landfill. Please consider using a more sustainable environmentally-friendly packaging. I love your eggs and I'd like to continue to eat them. Thank you and have a great day!
That's a great point, Patricia, and we recognize that not all of our customers have access to recycling which is why we have started a Takeback Program where consumers can mail their cartons back to us free of charge. We then gather them up once we have a large quantity and take them back to our carton manufacturer to be melted down and turned into new recycled packaging. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and if you'd like to hear more about the program or have any other questions, please do let us know!
Please let me know how I can return the carton to you! Since China has stopped taking our recyclables, they are piling up at our shores etc.
April 04, 2019
What is happening with the egg cartons being sent back to you? What do you recycle them into? Just curious.
Great question, Julie! We've set aside some barn storage space here at our home farm for these takeback cartons, and once we have enough, they'll be taken up to our carton manufacturer's facilities to be melted and molded into new cartons and other product packaging. If you have any other questions, please feel free to let us know!
March 30, 2019
All well and good but as I understand it your store display cartons are made from 100% recycled plastics. However, they themselves are not biodegradable.
Love your eggs but aren't in love with your packaging, especially the triple fold idea on the eggs. Isn't that alone using 30-50% more plastic just to do that little trick? (not to mention old fumble fingers here struggling to get it open).
April 02, 2019
You're absolutely right, Wayne: our cartons are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic, and while they aren't biodegradable, they can be recycled again and again. Our intention for the double top design was to create a carton that does an even better job of protecting the eggs than molded paper pulp or Polystyrene. Here's a tip for opening our cartons that might help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWU1UhcUYuI. Please let us know if we can answer any follow-up questions!
March 23, 2019
I love your eggs and buy them from Kroger in South east Michigan.
Something to promote about your cartons would be the double protection you have. A picture is great too. I am sharing my egg cartons with farmers to recycle. They really like them. These cartons support the eggs really well. Your picture should reflect this double protection factor.
March 26, 2019
You are absolutely right, Jennifer, and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. We do definitely talk about our cartons offering some extra protection for our eggs as that is of course a consideration in addition to the environmental impact, but I will pass your suggestion along to my team that we do a better job of highlighting that trait in pictures. We really appreciate your feedback and the initiative you are taking to put our empty cartons to good use!
March 19, 2019
I certainly applaud you for going to the trouble and cost to research your packaging material. Would it be possible to see a copy of the research? You are making quite a few claims and I would like to see the data that supports them. Delicious eggs!
March 20, 2019
Hello Ed. Thank you for taking the time to reach out. We're absolutely happy to email a copy of the study. Please send us an email to: [email protected] and we'll get it right out to you. Thanks!
March 17, 2019
Oregon has limited their recycling to very few items which bums all of us who care about the earth out! So your cartons end up in the garbage. Wish there was another option.
Your eggs are the best! The $2 price increase has made it harder for me on fixed income to warrant buying. I will though when I feel my budget can handle it!
Thanks for sharing your concerns with us, Bonnie, and we hear you. We have started a Takeback Program as Taylor mentioned below, that allows customers to send us their used cartons for proper recycling at no cost to them, so please email us at [email protected] if you’re interested in learning more, and we’d be happy to get you set up for a shipment. Also, we haven’t actually increased our prices, but as we sell our eggs wholesale, it is the stores they are purchased at who determine the final pricing, and likely where that $2 came from. We do like to provide some great coupons and promotions to give back to our wonderful customers to offset the higher cost of our eggs, and we invite you to check those out here: https://www.peteandgerrys.com/offers-promotions.
March 15, 2019
Wow I came here to email you about my plastic concern. I was feeling so conflicted buying your eggs in the seemingly excessive, folding, plastic package. But I'm thankful to see you've looked into it so heavily, and even being an B Corp makes me want to support your company. At some stores I've seen the "loose egg" style, where you can bring your own carton and get eggs from a big basket... not that I expect Safeway or big chains to adopt this, but what if??? I would love to see that as an option to entirely wipe out the need for individual packages for consumers.
March 16, 2019
Hi Hannah! We appreciate that you took the time to read up on our practices and our choice to use RPET cartons. We know it's not a perfect solution, but we're proud of the stance we've taken to ensure recycling these water bottles that would otherwise end up in the environment. Your suggestion of offering a "loose egg" style is a good one, and something we'll be sure to consider for future offerings. Thank you for the feedback!
May 10, 2019
I had the same thought as Hannah regarding supplying small local stores with eggs in bulk where we could bring a basket or carton that we reuse to buy eggs. Have you considered creating a channel to facilitate this?
Absolutely, Cynthia! We're actually looking into a bulk offering with reusable cartons locally. This is something that's nearly impossible to do on a national scale, but that doesn't mean we won't try. We'll definitely share any updates and learnings from our trials!
March 10, 2019
I appreciate the work you put in to developing the most environmentally friendly container for your eggs. I think it's getting clearer that little of our recycled materials are actually getting recycled, especially with China apparently no longer taking our recycling. In one of the comment threads below, you mentioned a "take back" program. Have you implemented this, and how would it work. Thank you.
March 11, 2019
Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Taber. Our takeback program is in full swing and will have an official spot on our website very soon! To participate, we ask consumers to save up at least 10 cartons (the more the better, as this helps keep the transportation footprint low) and package them in a recycled box or mailer. From there, we can calculate the weight of your package and email you a prepaid label to affix to the package. The package can be mailed at your local post office or blue box, and once we receive it, we'll put your cartons in the storage space that we've set aside in one of our empty barns. Once the barn is full, we'll bring the entire load of cartons up north to our carton manufacturer, where the cartons will be melted back down and reformed into new cartons and other packaging. Feel free to send us an email at [email protected] if you'd like to participate!
March 08, 2019
Interesting comments on packaging. I reviewed your life cycle analysis information and as a person with experience in such studies, you are doing the right thing with your packaging choice (recyclers out there, you must learn to accept life cycle analysis of materials management). However, I beg you to change the wording about the cartons being recyclable! The cartons MAY be recyclable in some communities, so please encourage your customers to check for available recycling options on your website. Every city and county has different programs and these cartons likely should not go in "commingled" recycling carts. Thank you!
Thank you so much for taking the time to look through that study, Cathy, as it is certainly not a light read given we wanted to be very thorough in our analysis. We always appreciate when we can hear from informed customers who are passionate about issues such as recycling, and I will be sure to pass your recommendations along to the rest of my team. Since we also recognize that access to recycling of our cartons can be an issue for some consumers, we are also in the process of launching a Takeback Program that will allow customers to send the cartons back to us at no charge to them. We will then be able to take responsibility for making sure they end up where they should be, and we encourage you to look out for more on that in the coming months. Thank you, again, for your thoughtful feedback!
March 05, 2019
I don't see anything on the egg carton that claims it is recyclable. Why is that? Thanks.
March 06, 2019
Hi Julie! There is indeed a recycling mark, but it can be difficult to see. On most cartons, it is pressed in to the center of one of the rounded plastic egg cups that protect the top of the eggs once you have opened the smooth carton piece that has the label attached to it. Hopefully that helps, and if you have any other questions, please let us know!
March 02, 2019
Wow, what a thread - this shows to me that compassionate and articulate people love your high quality eggs, your company and the decisions you have to make to create and deliver your product. Good people all around!
Not to discount any of the arguments here, but I'd encourage folks to empower themselves to find a suitable use for these cartons, and share these solutions with the world.
No solution is perfect, and none of us righteous, we all have a footprint. (We are eating animal products, delivered by trucks.)
We completely agree, Chris. It's truly wonderful to see the care and thought that our consumers put into the products they choose to purchase. Needless to say we feel incredibly lucky to have such compassionate people rooting for us. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.
March 01, 2019
It might be necessary to revisit your study now that China is no longer taking our recycled plastic. Most plastic... even what is taken to the recycling centers is now going to the landfills. The world is changing... we need to all be on board. Your business model is appreciated. If only more producers would choose to adopt sustainable practices...
Hi Bev! We completely acknowledge that the issue of recycling is an ever changing and progressing conversation and we are absolutely reevaluating our role in being environmentally conscious based on those changes. In response to concerns from customers just like you, we've created a form to gather all customer feedback to inform future packaging innovation and we would love to have you let us know any additional thoughts, suggestions, or concerns you have there: http://fal.cn/PGOfeedback. Thanks again for reaching out to us, and we look forward to passing your feedback along to our packaging team.
February 24, 2019
I feel better knowing that I can put these egg cartons in the recycling. But I still think cardboard would be better.
February 25, 2019
We hear you, Jenine. If you'd like to peruse our life cycle analysis, we'd love to send you a copy of it! Just email us at [email protected] if that's of interest. And if you have any specific questions about our decision to use RPET instead of paper, please let us know.
Thanks for sharing this information. I came to your website for this specific question. Love your eggs. I am trying to eliminate plastic from my day to day. Not a perfect solution as you say and unfortunately many towns don't really recycle any more. The cardboard could at least be composted but I have not done any research into how each option is made. Could you give more information on why the molded pulp worse than the plastic? Maybe share some specific data from you study. I hope better solutions are around the corner.
Hi Joanne, absolutely! Do you mind sending us an email at [email protected]? We'd love to send you a copy of the study and direct you to the specific findings and data that ultimately influenced our decision to use RPET the most.
February 20, 2019
I don't think you really answered the question why your RPET container is better than molded pulp. And frankly there is a question if all the plastic we put into recycle cans for pickup actually get recycled. Also your tri- fold egg carton increases the need for plastic by 1/3. Not the direction I want to go in trying to be environmentally conscious.
I've accepted I need to pay more for organic eggs, but I think I need to be more focused on getting my eggs from the local farmer to assuage my environment guilt and continue the best nutrition. But until I decide on my local source I will continue with Pete and Gerry.
Your comments are welcome
February 22, 2019
Hi Joan, we're sorry that our explanation about our choice to use the RPET container was not clear here. Essentially, we did a study with Quantis, an independent research company, and have found that RPET cartons have a much smaller carbon footprint throughout their life-cycle.
Our RPET egg cartons approach “carbon neutral” and generate significantly less environmental impact than comparable plastic cartons. If you send us an email at [email protected] we'd be happy to send you the entire study report. This style of packaging is also sturdier than those made from other materials, so our cartons can be packed more tightly and efficiently in our transport trucks, producing fewer fuel emissions to get to their respective store locations.
We know it's on us as a company to encourage our consumers to recycle, which is why we created our take-back program to help consumers without access to #1 recycling to dispose of their cartons responsibly.
Unfortunately, our waste system is far from perfect: the majority of our landfills are not designed or able to biodegrade because they’re compact and anaerobic environments. In other words, their function in our society, at this current moment at least, is to store garbage rather than break it down. This is why we're so passionate about having our cartons recycled. We hope this explanation helps clarify our stance!
February 18, 2019
Thank you so much for going the trouble to research the best possible way to package your eggs. It sounds tough that our recycling containers (all recycles) have no where to go. There has to be a better way. Thank you again for trying to help our precious environment!
I think you can try harder to be eliminate the plastic packaging
Thanks for the kind words, Judy. It was important to us to base our decision on research, and we're glad to know that it matters to you, too!
February 11, 2019
I bought eggs this morning and the only reason I didn’t choose your eggs was the plastic carton. I wanted to see if that was addressed on your website and if fact it was. I’m still a little unclear as to if the cardboard or plastic is better. As you mention plastic has a bad impression on many so why do you use it? Yes I understand it’s made from recycled plastics but wouldn’t it be easier to stop using plastic at all?
February 12, 2019
Thank you for the thoughtful questions, Micah. The conclusion we drew from our independent study was that in terms of carbon footprint and emissions, RPET cartons are more earth-friendly. So although plastic is often seen in a negative light, the reality is that 100% post-consumer recycled packaging like ours is actually helping to reduce the amount of plastic that's in the waste stream, primarily by using water bottles that are already in circulation. We hope this helps explain our decision more clearly!
Can you ask me why entire countries only use Pulp packaging? I will never buy your Organic eggs unless they are in a pulp carton. Did you know Eggs in Australia only come in Pulp packaging? Sorry but you are off the mark with the statement that your Plastic packaging isn't any more harmful to the planet than Pulp. Do you realize most American's don't recycle.
February 09, 2019
You changed your packaging while China was still taking our “clams” can your cartons still be recycled on the west coast?
Hi Laura! Thanks for reaching out to us. I'm actually out on the west coast, and I can tell you confidently that in my area, #1 RPET cartons are accepted out here in the zero sort recycling program. There may be some exceptions to this rule, depending on your location, but even so, we've introduced a take-back program - we pay to have the cartons shipped to us from our consumers, and have it recycled. It's a new pilot program we have started in 2019 and so far has been working well. If this may be of interest, we'd love to hear from you, feel free to drop us a line and we can get you the information: [email protected]
I'm on the East coast but I'm interested and would support a mail-back to you of your egg cartons. Until I get settled on this plastic problem I will reach out a local farmer's eggs instead of Pete and Gerry, unfortunately
Hi Joan! We launched a takeback program late last year (we plan on posting all the details front and center on our website this year) that allows consumers - especially those without local access to recycling - to store their cartons and mail them back to us in bulk. We've set aside some barn storage space here at our home farm for these takeback cartons, and once we have enough, they'll be taken up to our carton manufacturer's facilities to be melted and molded into new cartons and other product packaging. Beyond this program, we'll continue to educate and encourage these thoughtful and crucial practices whenever possible. Please feel free to drop us a line when you have some cartons ready to send and we'll be glad to get a prepaid label to you. Thanks for supporting our small family farms on all coasts.
I save my cartons and take them to the Amish farmers for packaging their eggs to sell at farmers market.
That's a great idea and a great way to reuse the cartons! Thanks for the tip, Mary!
February 07, 2019
Hi, I wanted to comment on the egg carton - I noticed there were several broken eggs in the cartons in the store so I made certain that I got an carton without broken ones. In spite of that, when I go home, one of the eggs had broken. The carton is just too flimsy on the bottom. So I can appreciate your decision in terms of recycling but I will avoid that type of carton from now on.
Hi Karen. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us. We're very sorry to hear about the broken eggs in your carton. We find we actually have less broken eggs in these cartons overall, but understand that sometimes things can happen once the eggs leave the farm. We'd be glad to look into this issue and replace the eggs for you. Would you be able to send us a message to: [email protected] ? If you happen to have the specific carton information on the side of the packaging that includes the use by date, letters and numbers alongside it, it would be most helpful. Thank you for letting us know about this, we'll watch for your message.
February 02, 2019
Thanks for the explanation about the cartons. I was about to complain.
February 04, 2019
Our pleasure, Larry. We're always here to help if you have questions or concerns, so please don't hesitate to reach out any time!
January 20, 2019
why couldn't we drop off the cartons at the stores & have your delivery trucks pickup empties, when delivering eggs, to be taken to your facilities, cleaned & sanitized & reused by you?
January 21, 2019
Great question! The network of deliveries tends to be a bit more complicated than that--there are transfers and distribution along the way making the transfer process full of transition points. The FDA has very strict guidelines on sanitation and washing of cartons, which would also make it impossible for us to reuse the cartons. However, we are unrolling a new take-back program where consumers can mail us their cartons back directly so that we can responsibly recycle them. Thank you for sharing your ideas!
As an egg eating consumer, I can't thank you enough for your responsible approach to the researching and choosing of packaging. As a budding permaculturist, I just tore up my first cardboard egg container and tossed it into my composter. I'm on the verge of adding worm composting to my list. I'm wondering if cardboard egg cartons could be feasibly added to yard waste. Now that China stopped buying US recyclables in the past year, it seems all the more important to remove recyclables from the food chain unless they can be re-recycled. Time for some more American innovation to replace the role of the Chinese.
Thank you for providing your unique and thoughtful perspective! We absolutely believe in research and science-backed approaches to our choices that have environmental impacts. It's on us as a company to educate our consumers and to push the U.S. to find innovative ways to recycle items, whether they're plastic or not, so that we can become better environmental stewards.
January 16, 2019
Life Cycle Analysis does not currently take into account the impact of plastics in the ocean, or the common end-of-life scenario in which these containers are shipped abroad for recycling and end up burning in open dumps. Nor are they currently able to account for new research showing that plastics in the environment emit methane. Also, most recycling programs around the US, including in eco-friendly Portland Oregon, are not currently taking this type of molded plastic container for recycling. I appreciate the dedication to find the most truly environmental option for your products, but a deeper look at LCA shows that this is not yet an accurate assessment for today's realities. I hope that you will continue to investigate and push for reusable packaging options, at which point I will surely seek out your products! Would you be willing to share the Quantis report? Thank you.
Hi there! We'd be glad to email this to you. Would you mind sending us an email to: [email protected] ? We'd be glad to send the study your way. Thanks!
January 03, 2019
While "paper" cartons would be better, they also create a LOT of trash. I like your idea of having the cartons returned and what will you then do with them? Recycling only postpones the problem rather than solving or improving on it. What's really needed is a way that you (and others) can RE-FILL those plastic cartons/containers. The problem with plastic is not that it lasts forever but that we have decided a Forever Product can only be used ONE time - call me crazy, but this makes no sense. Why not use the plastic carton or container for the same product again and again and ...? But, maybe the real question is not "why not" but "how" - as in how could we go from single use to infinite use of a single carton rather than single use of infinite cartons???. Until that happens, another option might be to offer your eggs on reusable bulk palettes and we could supply our own take-home containers..
Seems to me that the problem with this would be getting the cartons back to P&G's.
January 15, 2019
Paper cartons can be given to friends and neighbors who raise chickens. Nobody I know who raises chickens will accept these weildy plastic cartons for their own eggs - therefore there is no re-use option for these. I find it very hard to believe that a plastic carton with 1/3 as much volume as a paper carton made from recycled materials has less environmental impact -- I will not be buying Pete and Gerrys eggs until they start coming in the recycled paper/pulp cartons that 1) can be reused realistically 2) can go into the backyard compost as well as recycling, and 3) easily recycle.
Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us here and via email, Cassandra. We understand that the usage of plastic in our society has hit an all-time high. It seems to be everywhere. Juice, soda and water companies are some of the biggest culprits in manufacturing this new plastic. As you probably see on a daily basis, much of this plastic gets put right into the landfill after use. It's a real shame and it's something that we think should not be happening. Which is why we're chosen to repurpose, reuse and recycle this plastic that's out there and have it remade into our current egg cartons. Because we're not using new plastic, we're doing our part to keep what is already out there out of the landfills. We realize it's not a perfect long term solution, but we feel it is responsible for the time being.
We also understand that folks that use our cartons may not have the resources to recycle our cartons in their towns, so we have taken it a step further - we pay to have the cartons shipped to us from our consumer, and have it recycled. It's a new pilot program we have started in 2019 and so far has been working well. More details to come soon via this website!
If consumers could bring your containers back to stores (maybe in multiples of 5 or 10 cartons), could the truck that delivers eggs bring those containers back to P&G? The customers who buy your eggs and write on here are the type to do that, I think.
January 04, 2019
We completely agree, Jan - reusable cartons would be a huge game changer for the egg industry. Unfortunately, USDA and FDA regulations ban us from reusing our cartons at this time. Because our eggs are sold at supermarkets and grocery stores all over the country, we have not found a way to suite the needs of every customer (for example, those who would prefer their eggs packaged in a container rather than sold in bulk style), but we really appreciate the suggestions and will certainly add your ideas to our conversations!
Sorry, I should have read further. It seems the FDA/ USDA ought to change its rules on reusing egg cartons. Since eggs come in their own natural packaging (shells that we don't eat), reused cartons present no health hazards.
January 22, 2019
There's definitely potential for change when it comes to those regulations, Allison! Of course, we always want to ensure that we're following the safest practices possible, so we hope that a sustainable and safe system for reusing cartons can be found someday.
January 02, 2019
I like your eggs, your intention to do the 'right thing' with packaging, and the effort you take to explain your process and decision to use recycled plastic.
I live in (Eugene) Oregon. Though in general we are environmentally conscious, the rules and access to recycling vary depending on size of population/ garbage haulers mandates- and contracts available with those entities who want/ can process our 'recyclables'. For many years, Lane County was a leader in recycling options and methods/access. For most of us, it was as easy as putting a mix of most anything that had a recycle symbol on it into a large curb-side container once or twice a month- Glass in a separate curbside container 'Garbage'- anything else that went to landfill also a separate container-typically opposite weeks. Nice and pretty effective. There was no hard and fast laws/rules that the locals had to follow, just make it easy and most people did a pretty good job.
The reason I'm writing is that things have changed, as I'm afraid they will more than we are likely prepared for. China- our largest resource for off loading our 'recyclables' no longer wants our waste. It is no longer economically feasible for them to ship our waste, convert it and resell it to us. In my opinion it was a stupid way for the world to do business in the first place...
Since the United States has not figured out how to make a buck off of recycling- and the 'powers that be' remain in control of markets that produce/buy/ sell/ single use packaging- we are facing a potential environmental of even greater proportions as the proverbial 'hens come to roost'- Sorry- I had too...
Please keep your business minds open to even better 'Best Practices'? Please consider that recycled paper product cartons or something equally likely to actually compose in a reasonable amount of time with minimal environmental impact might be the 'right thing' to do.
I am neither a scientist, business expert or final authority on what is right for the world. I am only one man with an opinion and the desire to what's right.
Again, I applaud your efforts to make the lives of the animals we consume more humane and the choices consumers have in purchasing healthy, reasonably priced food.
We completely understand your concerns, Carl. So much so that we're launching a takeback program for this very reason; to ensure that our cartons get recycled in places that no longer can do so. Though we're still finalizing the program, we might be able to help you out if you have any of our cartons laying around. Do you mind sending us an email at [email protected]? We know it's not a perfect long-term solution in a changing world, but we're doing our best to keep abreast of this unfolding issue. We will surely take your kind and informative discussion to heart. Thank you for the feedback!
This is the exact wording of Nellie’s eggs statements on their website to support their use of plastic. But like so many of the comments on your site saying folks want you to go to compostable paper pulp, I also advocate this change. I live in Key West Fl and we are very vulnerable to plastics killing our reefs and coral. And China is Not recycling our plastics any longer. Please review this more recent article on plastics clogging rivers around the world:
Plastic 'berg chokes Indonesian river
A crisis of plastic waste in Indonesia has become so acute that the army has been called in to help.
Therefore I can no longer in good conscience buy your eggs, but instead will purchase free range organic eggs in paper cartons. Please change your practices for your kids, grandkids, and the magnificent streams, lakes and oceans and all their creatures.
Hi Diane, we thank you for writing. Nellie's is our sister brand of eggs, and we share the same mission, hence the same message. We know it's not a perfect solution in a changing world, but we're doing our best to keep abreast of this unfolding issue. Because our cartons are made from recycled materials rather than new plastic, we do feel that some blame should be placed on these companies that are making the plastic to begin with. If they didn't create it, we would not be able to use it for our cartons. We do have some good news on this forefront. We have introduced a recycling program for consumers who are unable to recycle the cartons in their communities. Please send us a message at [email protected] and we'd be glad to get that information to you and get those cartons back. We are thankful for your message.
November 29, 2018
Please send me your third party study on the comparison between RPET and paper pulp use. I have found many such studies do not take the full life-cycles of plastics into account, that they are not infinitely recyclable, nor first-time recycled plastic's tendency to end up as fleece clothing, TREX deck flooring, or other unlikely and difficult-to-be-recycled items. Nor do studies go into the need to control air pollution and all the energy that involves, along the way. Our recycling used to be sent to China. Now our county is struggling to figure out what to do with it and we have to pay for the "service." I can and do compost paper pulp in my back yard, which becomes nutrition for the planet.
I appreciate your intentions, work and products, but do not want to buy more plastic, regardless of what is wrapped inside.
November 30, 2018
November 27, 2018
Why not reuse the sale package that se could bring back to thé store
November 28, 2018
That's a great suggestion! Unfortunately, food safety regulations prevent us from reusing our cartons, so although we wish we could, it isn't possible at this time.
November 21, 2018
I believe that my recycling service in Portland, Oregon would consider these containers to be clamshells and would tell me to put them in the trash...not the recycling. Which would make recycled pulp a better choice for mine and most recycling areas. Even if they were to go in the recycling stream, we keep hearing recently that most of the plastics end up in landfills in China or elsewhere. What do I do?
November 22, 2018
We completely understand your predicament, Matthew. We're launching a takeback program for this very reason; to ensure that our cartons get recycled. Though we're still finalizing the program, we might be able to help you out if you have any of our cartons laying around. Do you mind sending us an email at [email protected]?
November 16, 2018
Thank you for taking the time to clear the confusion regarding plastic vs cardboard, styrofoam, and PET plastic, and to look for RPET (Recycled PET) instead.
November 17, 2018
Our pleasure, Dolores. As a B Corp, we wanted to base our decision on research. Thank you for taking the time to read about what we found!
November 11, 2018
You have not provided any real evidence or explanation why RPET is better for the environment than molded pulp. The latter uses no chemicals, creates a market for recycled cardboard, and is biodegradable. That seems a lot better and until you convince me otherwise I will avoid buying your eggs
November 12, 2018
Hi Robert, we would be more than happy to send you a copy of our third-party study. Do you mind sending us an email at [email protected]?
November 07, 2018
Thank you! I visited your site to find out why on the plastic cartons as well. As I love and buy your eggs and was a bit stymied by the packaging, now I know. Nice website too.
Nancy Zi, gold beach oregon
November 08, 2018
Hi Nancy! We're so glad we could help to provide some information on our packaging and are delighted to hear that you are enjoying the website. Thanks for supporting our small family farms in Gold Beach, it's a lovely town, I've been there!
You can add our county to your list of areas that will not accept your cartons for recycling. We have been saving them waiting for your mail back program to start but might soon have to look elsewhere for our eggs. Seeing the amount of plastic piling up after a few months brings home the negative aspect of the plastic.
Our preference would be paper pulp.
Hi Mike, we're still finalizing some logistics for the program but might be able to work something out for you this week so that we can take those cartons off your hands. Do you mind sending us an email at [email protected]?
November 05, 2018
This answered my question about the packaging. I'd like to add that I was surprised when I cracked open the first egg. I didn't expect such a fresh egg from the grocery store. I have raised chickens myself, and shop farmers markets. Your eggs are right up there with those.
Hi Susan! We're so delighted to hear that you are enjoying our eggs and that you took the time to reach out to us here. We're thankful to have earned your praise and will let our small family farmers know how much their hard work is appreciated!
October 18, 2018
Thanks for this article! My town has also just switched to recycling by shape and not number (only plastic bottles with the openings smaller than the bottom, odd) and I'm trying to figure out how to adjust my buying habits so I don't have to throw out any plastic. I would be THRILLED with a take-back program. Please keep us updated.
October 19, 2018
We absolutely will, Casie!
October 10, 2018
Portland OR Metro recycles plastic by shape NOT by number now, so it sounds like a NO according to this link.
October 12, 2018
Thank you for letting us know about this, Alyssa. Though it sounds like your local recycling center will no longer take our cartons, all is not lost: we're in the process of a developing a "take back" program that will allow folks like you to save and mail their cartons back to us (free of charge) to be recycled. We'll certainly keep our consumers in the loop as we finalize the logistics, but it sounds like this program might be of use to you. Please let us know if we can answer any questions in the meantime.
October 08, 2018
I’m glad you explained about your cartons. I was very upset when my daughter bought your eggs because of the plastic I suggest you put that information on the very top of your egg cartons. These days people In the San Francisco Bay area are really trying to not buy anything in plastic so having an explanation right in front will help you guys. By the way the eggs are delicious. Most people would probably not go to your website to find out the truth so I’m hoping this will be helpful.
We're really glad that the explanation helped you understand our decision, Rita. Thank you for taking the time to read about our cartons! We appreciate your feedback and will definitely look into including more information right on the paper inserts in the future.
October 02, 2018
It'd be nice if we could have access to the actual report so as to see the assumptions and calculations.
October 05, 2018
many plastics can no longer be recycled here In Eugene, Oregon. Can your container be?
Hey Kevin, our cartons are considered a #1 plastic which is one of the most widely accepted types. If your local recycling facility accepts #1 plastics, then they should indeed accept our cartons. If you'd like us to give them a call, please feel free to drop us a line at [email protected] - we're happy to confirm with them!
We would be happy to send a copy of the study your way, Tad! If you don't mind sending us an email at [email protected], we'll get that right out to you.
October 01, 2018
Not sure about something - you refer to the pulp cartons ending up in anaerobic landfills which I agree is a problem. Can’t you recycle the pulp ones with the mixed paper? If I have an option to buy eggs in cardboard boxes I always prefer it because I can recycle them that way (tearing off any parts that might be sullied by broken eggs, etc).
Absolutely, Karoline! Both pulp cartons and our RPET cartons can and should be recycled. However, in the event that either type of carton ends up in a landfill, neither will decompose over time. Though this is something we wish could be avoided 100% of the time, it does happen, and creates a lose-lose situation for the pulp carton with a higher carbon footprint. We hope this helps clarify!
September 30, 2018
You are probably right, at least for the average person. However, I treasure pulp cartons as we recycle them immediately. During the winter, they are used to kindle the fireplace. In the summer, they start the charcoal in the grill. I buy your product exclusively when I shop in town, but when I do my monthly major trip (to Trader Joe) I stock up on eggs in the pulp cartons. (one concession, I think that your eggs are better!) I also wanted to tell you about my other 2 gripes. I prefer X-large or jumbo eggs. Yours are rare and hard to find. Today our local market had X-L's on sale and I bought 6 dozen. (I use 2-3 dozen/week). Occasionally (once out of 3 dozen, I find eggs with pock mark fractures that look as though they are possibly from processing machinery. I do not use them as as prefer my eggs soft boiled.
We hear you, Gregory! Pulp cartons have many uses, and we completely understand why some folks might prefer them. Lots of our consumers have found that our cartons make really great storage containers for everything from holiday ornaments to office supplies, and they're perfect mini windowsill greenhouses. If there's anything we can do to get our extra large and jumbo eggs into more stores in your area, just give us a shout at [email protected] - we'd love to help!
I am very glad you sent us the email today linking to the article about WHY you use the plastic cartons. It is something that I've wondered about (because it did seem inconsistent with your values). I am glad to know the rationale behind using plastic. I'm pleased that you did commission a comparative environmental impact study for the different types of egg cartons. (I made a point of checking the carton for the recycling # when I first started buying your eggs, & I make a point of recycling them). And of course I selected your eggs in the first place because I feel assured of how the chicks are raised that are the sources of your eggs.
We're so glad that you found your way here, Beth. It sounds like you're a very environmentally-conscious and informed consumer, and we're so grateful for folks like you who encourage others to be the same way. Thank you for taking the time to read about all the research and thought that went into our carton design!
I will only buy your eggs and if the market has none left for the day, I come back later when they are back in stock. They are the best tasting eggs I have had in a long time. My great grandfather raised chickens and back then we never knew what an issue that raising them free range with a good diet would be...it was the norm for him. The yolks are golden, not yellow, and I taste no aftertaste I can tell
the difference I make sure to recycle your packaging, but I feel compelled to let you know that on two occasions I found eggs that were cracked within the package. It did not deter me from buying again as the taste is that remarkable. I love your eggs and gladly have paid more for them. They make an excellent omelette and scrambled they are light and fluffy.
Thank you so much for the kind words, Jennifer. It truly means the world to us that you go to such great lengths to purchase our eggs at your local market. We're so sorry that you found a few cracked eggs, as we designed our cartons with this very issue in mind. If you don't mind sending us an email at [email protected] we would love to send you a few coupons to replace that carton!
September 29, 2018
I love your eggs, but was concerned about the plastic cartons. I am very happy to see that you have spent so much time and effort to address packaging. We are in a crisis with plastic recycling, as many of your commenters have noted, and of course it is the current hot topic in the news. Until we as a society can move beyond our addiction to plastic we must do our best to minimize its use.
Can you re-use the plastic cartons? I would be very happy to send you a box of my used ones every few months or so if you will re-use them vs. recycle them. I do not trust that #1 clamshells will actually be recycled anywhere in the near future.
Hi Kim! Thanks for your thoughtful comment. For sanitation reasons, we unfortunately cannot reuse our cartons, but they can definitely be recycled and made into new products. We know that it's on all of us as individuals to recycle, and we believe it's our responsibility to continue educating consumers and encouraging everyone to take that extra step when it comes to our packaging (and all recyclable materials).
September 22, 2018
Your eggs are the best I've been able to buy since I raised my own years ago. We can no longer recycle any plastic, however, that is not #1 or #2. Your containers now go in the land fill. Please consider using pulp-paper. Whoops! Found the #1 finally. Sorry. Still like the thought of the paper pulp containers. Wonderful eggs!
September 24, 2018
Hi Elizabeth! It sounds like because they're a #1 plastic, your local recycling facility will indeed accept them (apologies if the #1 symbol was a bit difficult to find!). We appreciate the love and great feedback!
September 19, 2018
I am more concerned with chemicals and microbeads ending up in the ocean & water sources, than the carbon footprint. Seems like we can find a better carton option.
Hi Beth! We understand where you're coming from, but we do think that considering our carbon footprint is very important when looking at overall environmental impact of our cartons. We're committed to limiting carbon dioxide emissions because of the serious threats that climate change poses. It is also critical to keep chemicals and microbeads out of our oceans as well as our water sources, so we hope to continue to encourage all consumers to properly dispose of our cartons by recycling them. We're committed to innovative package design and will continue to research how to make the best packaging for our eggs.
I appreciate the information, but the assumption is that your packaging will be recycled once it gets to a facility. The numbers don’t bear this out. A minimal amount of the plastic put in to home recycling ever actually gets recycled. I would still by your eggs more often if they were in pulp packaging.
Hi Liz, thank you for taking the time to comment. Yes, we use 100% post-consumer recycled plastic to create our cartons, which puts the plastic surplus to good use. When they arrive at the facility, these number one plastics can be recycled with little trouble. Unfortunately, pulp packaging will not biodegrade in a landfill either and most consumers do not have the ability to properly dispose of those types of packages so that they will actually biodegrade. Our hope is that consumers will recycle their cartons and they will be properly dealt with at the facility.
September 04, 2018
Where can I recycle these? My local place won’t accept them. I don’t feel good chucking these into landfills. So, I’m not going to purchase any more of your eggs until I hear from you that there’s a place I can recycle the cartons.
Hi Michele, we're so sorry to hear that your local recycling facility will not accept #1 plastics. We're in the process of a "take back" program that will allow folks like you to mail their cartons back to us (free of charge) to be recycled. We'll certainly keep our consumers in the loop as we finalize the logistics, but it sounds like this program might be of use to you. We've also found that there can be some confusion out there regarding the type of plastic that our cartons are made from, and some recycling facilities that do accept #1 plastics simply don't realize that ours are in that category. If it helps, we would be more than happy to give your local recycling facility a call to see if this is the case. Feel free to send us an email at [email protected] if this sounds like it might be helpful.
I think mailing my cartons to you is not sustainable. GHG emissions for trucking a few egg cartons? My recycling facility will no longer accept "clamshell" plastics even if they are #1. You need to change your packaging ASAP. Your assumptions based on the study you site may have been true when China was still accepting this plastic but they don't now! Paper cartons please! Until you change I will have to buy another brand.
Hi Janelle, we hear you on this issue. We do think that the take-back program could be successful if many customers are saving the cartons and mailing them in occasionally. We believe that reducing our carbon footprint is the most important thing we can do to protect our environment. Most recycling facilities do accept our #1 plastics and we're sorry to hear that yours presently does not. Unfortunately, "biodegradable" cartons made of molded paper do not decompose any more effectively in a landfill than our plastic cartons. Thank you for your honest feedback and we'll continue to pay attention to all relevant research and design information to improve our cartons.
September 02, 2018
Thanks... I almost stopped buying your eggs until I read the info on your packaging and went to your website to learn more. I like that you are reviewing new information as well.
Thank you for your understanding and support, Nancy. We firmly believe in educating ourselves on this ever-changing issue whenever possible!
August 28, 2018
I’m not convinced that RPET is better. Of course if the plastic can be recycled forever, it would be a good thing. But, my understanding is that bad assumptions in LCA studies (life cycle assessment) can lead to misleading results. For example, did the study assume a 100% recycling rate? What if the actual rate were less? What if some percentage of the plastic waste winds up in landfills, but some in the ocean or tossed on the side of the road, etc.
That's a really important point, Steve. We'd love to send you a copy of the study so that you can look further into any assumptions made and let us know how we could incorporate more possible outcomes into our thinking. We do want to point out that even though molded paper cartons are typically biodegradable, it's a common misconception that they'll biodegrade in an anaerobic landfill environment. So although we would never want to see our cartons end up in a landfill, if they do, they are unfortunately no worse off than paper cartons in that same landfill. We hope this information has helped clarify our decision, and please let us know if you'd like us to send that study your way!
August 15, 2018
Amazing! Just this morning while cooking breakfast I wondered "Why plastic, Pete and Gerry?" And 3 minutes later I had my answer! Thank you for staying connected with consumers and for caring about our environment. Great eggs, great packaging, never a broken egg 👌
August 17, 2018
This is awesome, Maria. We're glad that you found the information to be helpful and easy to find, and thanks for the great feedback on our eggs and cartons alike!
We can't recycle any plastic except #2 now, at least here in Maine. Our transfer station says it has to do with China refusing the plastics they used to buy from us.
I agree with the superiority of the see-through plastic for supermarket eggs, but what effect does it have on your analysis of environmental impact now that the plastic cartons are going into the waste stream?
Thanks for your comment, Carolyn. While there have certainly been some major recent changes when it comes to materials that can be exported to China, #1 plastics are still being recycled all over the country (and the world!), and we are working to ensure that our cartons are not ending up in the waste stream. We're in the very beginnings of starting a partnership with a "take back" program that will allow consumers to mail in their cartons free of charge so that they can be recycled. This will allow consumers all over the country - even those without access to a recycling center - to ensure that the cartons they purchase are being recycled and even upcycled in a closed-loop system. We'll have much more information in the coming months, but for now, we'd love to share some ideas for upcycling our cartons that our consumers have shared with us. At home, our cartons make great paint palettes, ornament storage, or even compartments for storing nails/screws, office supplies, or jewelry. Preschool programs and elementary schools sometimes use them for arts and crafts projects and storage. If you have a local farmer's market, egg farmers will sometimes repurpose our cartons (with the paper inserts removed, of course) to sell their own eggs. And finally, although they aren't biodegradable and shouldn't be planted directly into the ground, our cartons make fantastic mini windowsill greenhouses for seed starting. These are by no means long-term solutions, but we hope they'll help.
August 14, 2018
Well the containers suck and I have stopped buying your eggs because they always always always break in those stupid containers!
We're so sorry that you're not a big fan of our cartons, Abilene. We've found that they tend to protect the eggs better than molded paper pulp or Polystyrene, but we also know that cracked or broken eggs can happen now and then. We'd be more than happy to replace any cartons that you've been dissatisfied with if you don't mind sending us an email at [email protected]
July 30, 2018
Why did you decide not to use recycled molded pulp, if that had the lowest impact? I've been so glad to have access to free range organic eggs in my local supermarket, thanks to you guys, and I appreciate your explanations but am not clear on this part.
July 31, 2018
That's a great question, Margit! Ultimately, we decided that reusing the plastic that's already in circulation rather than letting it end up in landfills was the most responsible thing to do. It also came down to carton design and ease of use - we love that folks are able to flip the carton over (without worrying about the eggs jostling around, thanks to the tri-fold design) to check for cracked eggs before buying. Plus, the design and material tends to protect the eggs a bit better than others. We also love being able to showcase our farm families right on the carton, which we wouldn't be able to do as easily with paper pulp. We put a lot of thought and research into the choice, and we've been pleased with the outcome and positive feedback from consumers, but we're always open to change and improvement! We hope this explanation helps, and please don't hesitate to reach out any time with questions. Thank you for the support!
July 26, 2018
I recently bought a carton of eggs which says good until july 28th. How long will they last past that date?
July 27, 2018
Hi LeAnne, thanks for the question. The date on our cartons is typically a "use by" date, so we can't recommend that you consume our eggs beyond that date, as we can't guarantee their freshness. However, there's a clever trick that will give you a pretty good idea of how fresh expired eggs really are. If you fill a bowl with water and gently place the eggs in the water, you should be able to see if the eggs float or sink. If they float, you're better off tossing them; that's the sign of an older egg. If they sink, that's a pretty good indication that they're still fresh. We hope this helps!
January 17, 2018
May 29, 2013