Germination on Recycled Materials: Newspaper Pots and Egg Cartons

Germinating seeds is an exciting step in the journey of growing plants. While traditional plastic pots are commonly used, there is a growing interest in sustainable alternatives that reduce waste and promote recycling. In this article, we will explore the use of two popular recycled materials for germination: newspaper pots and egg cartons. These eco-friendly options not only provide a suitable environment for seed germination but also contribute to a greener and more sustainable gardening practice.

Newspaper Pots

Benefits of Newspaper Pots

Newspaper pots offer several advantages for germinating seeds:

  • Sustainability: By repurposing old newspapers, you contribute to waste reduction and promote recycling.
  • Biodegradability: Newspaper pots can be directly planted into the ground, allowing the roots to penetrate through the pot walls and decompose naturally.
  • Moisture Retention: The porous nature of newspaper promotes proper drainage while retaining moisture, creating an ideal environment for seed germination.
  • Air Circulation: The breathable material allows for adequate air circulation, reducing the risk of damping-off or fungal diseases.

How to Make Newspaper Pots

Follow these steps to create newspaper pots:

  1. Gather Materials: You will need newspaper sheets, a cylindrical object (e.g., a glass or a can), and a pair of scissors.
  2. Prepare the Newspaper Strips: Cut newspaper sheets into strips of approximately 3 inches in width.
  3. Rolling the Pot: Wrap a strip of newspaper tightly around the cylindrical object, leaving about 1 inch at the bottom to fold inward. This will form the base of the pot.
  4. Folding the Base: Fold the excess inch of newspaper at the bottom inward, creating a solid base for the pot.
  5. Removing the Cylindrical Object: Gently slide the cylindrical object out of the rolled newspaper, leaving behind the pot shape.
  6. Securing the Pot: Press the bottom of the pot firmly to ensure it holds its shape. Repeat the process to make as many pots as needed.

Using Newspaper Pots for Germination

Now that you have your newspaper pots ready, here’s how to use them for seed germination:

  1. Filling the Pots: Fill the newspaper pots with a seed starting mix or a suitable germination medium.
  2. Seed Sowing: Place one or two seeds in each pot according to the seed’s specific planting depth and spacing requirements.
  3. Watering: Moisten the seed-starting mix gently, ensuring it is evenly moist but not waterlogged.
  4. Providing Proper Conditions: Place the pots in a warm and well-lit area that meets the germination requirements of the specific seeds being planted.
  5. Monitoring and Care: Regularly check the moisture level of the pots and provide additional water as needed. Keep an eye on germination progress and make adjustments to temperature, light, and humidity if required.
  6. Transplanting: Once the seedlings have developed, they can be transplanted into larger containers or directly into the ground, including the newspaper pots themselves.

Egg Cartons

Benefits of Egg Cartons

Egg cartons offer unique advantages for seed germination:

  • Readily Available: Egg cartons are widely accessible and can be repurposed for seed starting.
  • Biodegradable: Similar to newspaper pots, egg cartons can be planted directly into the ground, allowing the roots to penetrate and the carton to decompose.
  • Individual Compartments: The individual egg cups provide separate growing spaces for each seedling, preventing root entanglement.
  • Protection: The sturdy material of egg cartons offers some protection to the delicate seedlings during handling and transplanting.

Using Egg Cartons for Germination

Here’s how to utilize egg cartons for seed germination:

  1. Preparing the Carton: Use a clean, empty egg carton. If using a cardboard carton, consider lining the compartments with plastic wrap to prevent excessive moisture absorption.
  2. Filling the Compartments: Fill each egg cup with a seed starting mix or germination medium.
  3. Seed Placement: Plant one or two seeds in each cup, following the recommended planting depth and spacing for the specific seeds.
  4. Watering: Moisten the soil gently, ensuring it is evenly moist but not saturated.
  5. Providing Ideal Conditions: Place the carton in a warm, well-lit area that meets the germination requirements of the seeds being planted.
  6. Maintenance and Care: Regularly monitor the moisture levels, adjust environmental conditions if necessary, and provide appropriate care as the seedlings emerge and grow.
  7. Transplanting: Once the seedlings are established, they can be transplanted into larger containers or directly into the ground, including the egg carton cups themselves.


Germinating seeds on recycled materials like newspaper pots and egg cartons not only supports sustainable gardening practices but also provides a nurturing environment for seedlings. Whether you opt for newspaper pots or repurposed egg cartons, these eco-friendly alternatives promote waste reduction while allowing successful seed germination. So, grab your old newspapers or egg cartons, get creative, and embark on your journey of sustainable seed starting!

Please note: While newspaper pots and egg cartons can be effective for germination, it’s important to ensure the materials are free from toxins or harmful substances that may affect seedling growth. If in doubt, opt for newspaper or egg cartons from reliable sources or consider using certified organic options.