How can I reuse or recycle egg shells?

Some broken egg shellsI was feeling a little poorly the other day so we had the standard unwell tea: chucky eggs and soldiers*.

The military men and their ovoid shaped compadres did their work and by the next day, I was up and around again – wondering what to do with the remaining egg shells.

I have used broken eggs shells in the garden in the past, to try to deter slugs and snails from my seedlings but I don’t know if it was worth it since the molluscs seemed to get through anyway. So does that actually work?

And are there any better uses for them?

(* boiled eggs and toast sliced thinly so that it can be dunked in the aforementioned eggs if the yolks are soft enough)

Best Suggestions

  • Reuse: Crush them up and use them to deter slugs and snails from attacking your precious seedlings – they don’t like the rough surface so won’t cross a barrier made from shells.
  • Recycle: A beautiful bit of recycling – bake the shells (to kill any bacteria) then crush them up and add them to chicken food/grit. The chickens reabsorb the calcium and other minerals from the shells and use them to create new eggs!
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

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68 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle egg shells?”

  1. dotCompost says:

    My egg shells just get crushed and thrown in the compost bin.

    Leave ’em whole and they take a age to breakdown, so crush ’em first.

    Spreading around plants does deter the slugs a bit, but nothing is truely effective in keeping snails off yer lovely leaves. I have hostas that look like lace curtains..!!

    • bev says:

      Oh, tell me abou t it! I keep trying with different quantities and size of shells fragments but they always seem to get through. I’m starting to think slugs can jump AND fly when there are tasty seedlings to be eaten.

    • HuntingWabbits says:

      Doesn’t salt dry them up or something? Perhaps sprinkling sea salt around your plants will stop the slugs eating them.

      • Ana says:

        Using salt to dry up slugs…as in salting the earth? perhaps not the greenest or most viable option. Also…if we care so much about recycling because we don’t want our future generations to drown in our irresponsibly produced waste…are we not being just a tad hypocritical when we kill off animals (such as slugs) who are after all part of the earth and our natural environment in the name of keeping plants alive that are too weak to survive on their own in our part of the planet…part of being and acting green is also accepting the limitations of climate, soil, and natural rainfall in certain parts of the planet. Perhaps if we used plants that naturally live in our area to keep our gardens beautiful these will have their own sets of evolved defenses to address the threat of slugs without us humans having to resort to slug genocide.

    • Lew says:

      with snail around hostas. lay down fine copper neating or cover ground with filter aid used in swimming pool filters , Trade name is celite.

  2. louisa's mum says:

    I haven’t tried this but apparently you can use them to get tea/coffee stains off the inside of thermos flasks.

    Just crush the (clean) shells up really small, then put them in the flask with some water and shake it up. The grains of shell are abrasive enough to remove the stains but won’t damage the lining – apparently.

  3. dotCompost says:

    As regards the hostas. Try this.

    Mine are now in pots, not in the ground.

    I have smeared vaseline – or rather, cheap £Shop petroleum jelly – all over the rim of the pot. And the slugs slide off – well some do..!!

  4. Scott says:

    Grind up the shells, add to some vinegar until saturated, boil until reduced by half, and add any sort of alcohol. Use the resulting gel under you chafing dish or in your votive holder instead of buying Sterno. A bit of salt in the vinegar will turn the flame yellow.

  5. Thad says:

    Feed them to your dog to make the coat nice and shiny! Crush them up and add them into their food. Since they have been cooked, it is safe for a dog to eat. My dog gets whole eggs whizzed into his food regularly (drop them in the blender with some veg).

  6. renee says:

    People used to wash them, dry them slowly in an oven and crush them up into a fine powder to add to foods so that they could up their calcium intake. Useful for the elderly and babes.

    • Gita says:

      It is well true! My mum has used it for a year (organic tho) and saw the difference,joints hurt much MUCH less!
      The same must be for dogs too-good for bones and fur.

  7. Pat says:

    my mother in law used to put them in a warm oven after baking biscuits and dry them out, and crush them and feed them to the chickens so they would have more calcium. If you don’t bake them first, the chickens will get a taste for the eggs and start eating their eggs, that is what she said.

    • calamity brown says:

      I went to a talk on biodynamics yesterday and he mentioned about using baked egg shell in the compost. I meant to ask why baked? but didn’t get the chance, does anyone know why. is it to make them break down faster? does it make it easier for the calcium to be released into the soil? or is there another reason.

      • Cipollina says:

        I always thought it was to make them less interesting to rats.

      • Caitlin says:

        Baking the eggshell is to get rid of any bacteria (salmonella) still left on the shell also if you are feeding it back to chickens it gets the scent and taste off the eggs so that they don’t get a taste for it and go after the good eggs. Hope that helps.

  8. Robert says:

    mmmm eggs

  9. Green eyed monster says:

    I smash mine into little pieces then mix them with vasaline. I then coat credit card sized bits of cardboard with the mixture and insert the said items into cash machines. It wrecks the machines good and proper!

  10. yasmin says:

    save egg shells in a big pot and several months later it would be a nice fertile for plants~!

  11. Shorty says:

    Take a mortar and pestle to them and then sprinkle them in the compost bin. My friend paper-mache’s them into beautiful Christmas ornaments, like really really pretty.

  12. .Jein.Noir. says:

    They use eggshells a lot in lacquer work in Asia, also could also be used for neat effects when painting. It’d get a lot of texture going with milk paint and hide glue. Or they could be dyed quite easily and sealed with a natural wax or oil for any sort of art project. There’s lots of free & natural dyestuff out in the yard or fields even.

    Currently I’m adding my excess eggshells to my Bokashi compost (anaerobic, container composting.) I have finally just started the Bokashi after a long bout of interest, so I can’t say just yet how quickly it works by comparison of traditional compost. Overall, Bokashi is supposed to be a lot faster though! In the very least it adds calcium to my end fertilizer product and helps the anaerobic environment thanks to their less porous texture (I only crush them flat.)

    Haha, and the strangest thing I’ve done with eggshells was definitely adding them to chocolate cake. It had to be done with the right ingredients and small enough size to make the crunch not be too obnoxious. But, when I got it right it was quite pleasant. I just crushed the whole egg in for my recipe. ^-^

  13. .Jein.Noir. says:

    Oh, and I almost forgot. I have a tooth-powder with calcium carbonate. I’m sure the baked/ground up eggshells could be used in it’s place for nice clean teeth…and then maybe follow up on the above suggestion and use it as a supplement to. If you feel really ambitious you could just just swallow it after brushing. But, that always seems weird for me, lol. Too many years of regular toothpaste I guess.

  14. S.C. says:

    I can’t believe you people are actually talking about recycling EGG SHELLS!!! Wow. What a waste. How much energy is consumed by baking the egg shells, blending the egg whole to feed to your dog, etc? Recycling largely is counter productive, and is a waste of time.

    • Yeidi says:

      For the dogs, I don’t think you have to bake them… And you can do the grinding manually and mix it into the food yourself.
      I’ve been searching on the Internet and haven’t really read that the eggshells have to be cooked. What I see is a lot of recommendations of giving it to your canine.

    • Renee says:

      Then why are you on this website? Where do you think all of our waste is going to go if at some point we don’t recycle the mass of it? Can we come dump it in your yard?

    • Becky says:

      Just pop them in the oven alongside your tea, or the cake your baking.

    • Fluffy Puff says:

      Hey S.C. I think you are going to be late for your corporate meeting at the mega bank or the law firm or something. HURRY UP AND GET MOVING! YOU DON’T HAVE TIME FOR WEBSITES LIKE THIS!

    • Anonymous says:

      When I have the oven on for dinner I often pop another tray in with seeds for toasting (pumpkin) or potato peelings tossed in olive oil for crisps, and now i’ll be putting egg shells in too! So rest assured I’m not using any extra energy just better utilising the energy I have on at the time…

      • shaneqpt says:

        i hand my dog the whole egg, he takes it out to the garden and eats it all.. Feed crushed (boiled-egg to avoid cannibalism) shells back to the chucks with oats..
        I think oven is to dry them so they crush to a powder rather than a sticky mess..

    • Hasapointmaybe says:

      S.C. has a little bit a point in their rash comment.

      I wouldn’t bake alone or blend due to the waste of natural resources to do so.

      But grinding by hand is a nice workout and if you have to bake, consider baking on a separate sheet at the same time something else is being baked.

      Recycling is only a waste of time if done the wrong way.

  15. Cathryn says:

    Make Cascarones! Confetti Eggs. They are great for parties, especially kid parties.

  16. LUV MEH says:

    i heard that u can wash egg shells and dceorate them

  17. Amy says:

    Wow! I always knew that egg shells were good for compost but I never considered all these other uses…

    Recycling is definately not ‘largely counter productive’ see the WRAP life cycle analysis of recycling compared to landfill and incineration

  18. mary lou says:

    I alternate between the compost heap and my cacti. Crushed eggshells are supposed to be good for cactus.

  19. Kerry says:

    I turn eggshells into tiny planters for spring time (or anytime for that matter) decorations. I like to plant wheat or oat grass in them. You can even draw faces on them and make your own version of chia pets.

    Here are instructions for making them.

  20. Mike Johnson says:

    A lot of good ideas….. here’s one for any lizard keeper (monotors): take your egg shells and dry out in the oven then crush the into a powder form and mix with ur lizards feed – it helps introduce much needed calcium into there bodies :)

  21. Anonymous says:

    You can make chalk with eggshells too:

  22. joe weatherall says:

    after we have used egg shells in my house with just give them back to our chickens to.

  23. joe weatherall says:

    they eat them and there is no mess

  24. mommacat says:

    Clean a dozen empty shells and bake em in the oven (to kill any nasties)
    then you can use them as teacups! check the http://www…for the formula for
    growing moss on flowerpots—it calls for mixing ground up live moss with
    powdered milk and eggshells because apparently that beautiful emerald
    green moss is a calcium lover! Know why people just HATE to see
    dandelions in their lawn? D-lions are famous for sucking ALL the nutrients out of the soil; especially minerals. If you grow them in pots, organically, and use LOTS of ground eggshells in the soil you end up with a great healthty vegetable….. Olive oil, sea salt, garlic and voila’!

  25. Olia says:

    Crush them and spread around plants to drive away snails.

  26. Joy says:

    I give crushed egg shell to snail! It gives them calcium to make their house robust! btw, I heard that I should delete white membrance of egg before I give it. somebody know the reason?

  27. Cheryl says:

    Careful about sprinkling salt in the garden to deter snails. Salt will spoil the soil for your garden plants.

  28. boyexpert says:

    i have read some comments about the slugs and snails on the plants and salt does make the slugs dry up and so they don’t have enough water to produce slime to move easier therefore they can’t get to food in time!

  29. Jeff says:

    If you add them to coffee grounds, the coffee will be less acidic. Then off to the compost bin with the whole thing.

  30. jerome says:

    hi can u email me and tell me hw can u use egg shells to make stuff like portray cause i saw on tv once that u can use egg shells to make stuff like portray

  31. Sylvia says:

    Yes, you can make Confetti eggs (see Cathryn’s note above)/Cascarones. However, if you prick both ends of the egg with a needle, then blow the egg out into a bowl (for future use in recipes), you will then have a whole egg which can be used for quite beautiful decorations. The Ukrainiens have made decorative eggs for religious occasions for a millenia..and there are great on-line examples. 1) Follow the egg eviction, with a wash of water into the egg, to clean and swish the interior. 2) Gently shake the water out, then allow the cleaned egg to dry. 3) The egg is now ready to be given a base coat of paint, then decorated, using your imagination. (be creative; add bits of ribbons, sequins, etc use a glue gun)

  32. Amanda says:

    I leave mine to dry, then periodically blend them down into powder (using a standard blender). By the end of winter, I have a full mason jar of powdered shells. When I set out tomatoes or other calcium-loving plants, I make sure to put a handful of powder in the hole around the roots of the seedling. Helps prevent blossom-end rot in tomatoes, and the extra calcium really seems to make the plants much fuller and stronger.

  33. Kat says:

    Plants-Put them on your plants. Treat Skin Irritations-Dissolve an eggshell in a small jar of apple cider vinegar (takes about two days) and use the mixture to treat minor skin irritations and itchy skin. Calcium from eggs- You can powder the eggshell by hand as much as you can, then you put it in a coffee grinder so that it may become fine powder and then you can have 1/4th tea spoon a day as it gives 400 mgs of calcium.Oh and don’t forget you need to add some lemon juice to the mixture. Eco-friendly Household Abrasive-Shake crushed eggshells and a little soapy water to scour hard-to-clean items like thermoses and vases. Crushed eggshells can also be used as a nontoxic abrasive on pots and pans.

  34. bob barnes says:

    this is for dear old mom [now gone] mom took all fresh egg shells and put them in a glass milk bottle [crushed up] and sat the bottle on the window sill after a week she would the egg water for her plants mom could take a 100 year old piece of wood and make it root try it works i use it on my early start plants

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  36. dina says:

    I have been grinding egg shells into a powder and putting on my lawn to eliminate grubs and rabbits for a few years. My lawn looks like cramp. Maybe it’s an invasive weed . Anyways, rather a waste of time.

    But putting beer in a saucer will attract slugs. It’s sweet and they actually drown.
    I dump out any beer from bottles or cans in a saucer before recycling them.

  37. Printer Inks says:

    you can use the egg shell as a fertilizer for the plants and egg white can be used as a conditioner. you can see the healthy hair straight after wash.

  38. Kay says:

    Many bird species are now suffering from calcium deficiency (for several reasons) which makes their eggs & chicks to soft to survive, (leading to depleting bird populations in many geographical areas)! So crushing & spreading your egg shells in your grass/garden (esp around your birdbath) IS DEFINITELY BENEFICIAL… as birds drink & peck away at grasses/seeds/bugs/worms they inadvertently ingest bits of your egg shells as well, which makes their eggs/chicks bones stronger!!


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