6 unexpected ways to reuse eggshells

6 tips for reusing your eggshells. Getty Images

Economical and delicious, the egg has been the basis of our diet since prehistoric times. Yet, we waste our shells every day. A little recycling lesson.

As an omelet, soft-boiled, poached, scrambled or simply fried: there are a thousand ways to cook eggs. And when we break its white or beige shell, it is without ever asking too many questions that we throw it in our household waste. They are nevertheless very useful and the quote from the German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno could not suit them better: “Museums preserve our past, recycling preserves our future”. To one day hope to live in the world we dream of, reshaping things as unexpected as eggshells will become part of our daily lives. Might as well start now.

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Alexandra Berrou, master composter at the head of the company Alexa and its strawberries, is used to recycling, but not always. In 2018, she has been a salesperson for more than 15 years in chocolate confectionery, but a walk in the forest with her three-year-old son will “change her life”. Armed with a garbage bag, she offers him to pick up the waste they come across on their way, then plans to enroll him in a recycling workshop. “I couldn’t find any. So I decided to specialize and set up my own waste reduction workshops”. Volunteering, numerous training courses, the title of master composter and the creation of her company later, she now helps individuals and groups to recycle their waste. She gives us 6 easy and useful tips for using her eggshells wisely.

Preparing the shells

Eggshells contain a lot of minerals: “We find calcium, magnesium, carbonate or even sulphate in them”. Packed with virtues essential to the development of the organism, they offer a number of unsuspected possibilities, whether at home or in nature. But first of all, it is necessary to prepare them. And for that, to dry them in the open air for a few days. The most impatient can also use the residual heat of the oven after cooking.

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Once ready, they need to be ground. “For almost all recipes relating to eggshells, you have to reduce them otherwise they can take years to degrade. It can be done using a mortar, a robot, by hand or even with a glove,” explains Alexandra Berrou. And for those who would be easily discouraged by this step: “We can make it an activity for children!”.

Launder your laundry

When your clothes look gloomy, eggshells are there to restore their shine. “They say you can crush the shells and slip them into tights or a well-tied cloth, which you then add to the drum. For my part, I find it very good to reduce them to powder before adding them directly to the laundry. This is not what will pollute our waters!”

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Clean your dishes

Water, soap and a few eggshells: that’s all you’ll need to make your dishes shine. “You just have to grind the shells into a powder and mix them with hot water and washing-up liquid.” A natural abrasive for shiny dishes. The little extra? This mixture cleans your pipes on the way.

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Enrich the compost

Before starting, a reminder shot is needed: “Compost is not a trash can, a rotting box or a dump” recalls Alexandra Berrou. Even today, there are a lot of preconceptions about this practice, despite all its benefits for the planet. “We know that fruits and vegetables are made up of 85% water, and unfortunately household waste is burned in the Paris region. However, burning water requires a lot of energy. This is why compost is essential. For it to be rich and fertile, the eggshell is ideal. Just drop them in, crushed or powdered, and remember to mix the compost well so that it maintains all its humidity without smelling bad.

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Fertilize the land

What the planet gives us graciously, we must give back to it. And you don’t need to have compost at home to do it. Once your eggshells are dried, then transformed into pieces or powder, Alexandra Berrou strongly recommends depositing this fertilizer at the foot of trees during nature walks. “We can put them in our planters, in our vegetable gardens, in our plants, in parks… Wherever there is land, they will enrich it”.

Hunt crawling pests

Slugs, snails and other insects cause damage in vegetable gardens. To take care of its fruits, vegetables and plants, it is therefore necessary to hunt them gently and ecologically. The eggshell can be used once coarsely crushed, thanks to its sharp edges, which form a natural barrier and slow them down.

Prepare seedlings

Another tip for green fingers: rich in nutrients and natural, the eggshell is undoubtedly the ideal medium for sowing. “We take the shell cut in half and make a small hole at the base to drain the water. The advantage is that you can plant the seedling directly in the ground with the shell”. A much more preferable alternative to using a yoghurt pot or a plastic tray.

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