Post-Easter ‘recycling’: West Seattle egg collection for fertilizer

If you’re boiling eggs to decorate for Easter, and expecting to throw them away or put them in your food-waste recycling cart – here’s an alternative: Paul West of Gardening with Urban Nitrogen wants to collect them! He says he’s doing this “as a pilot project to develop local fertilizer alternatives to replace the exotic organic fertilizers that are typically used in urban gardens” and if you will donate to his experiment, he’ll arrange to pick up your Easter eggs from your front porch (West Seattle only) the morning of April 9th, provided they’re set out by 8 am. Then he’ll grind them into garden fertilizer and report to Sustainable West Seattle by the end of the growing season. The point he’s trying to draw attention to:

Urban food wastes such as eggs, milk, beans, and other high protein, low-fat foods are great sources of nitrogen. These typically end up at the Cedar Grove Composting facility where they get mixed with low-fertility wastes. Meanwhile, urban gardeners buy organic fertilizers (blood meal, fish emulsion, sea kelp, rock phosphate) from far-away places to grow their vegetables. This project fosters food security and local resource development.

West says he needs more than 1,000 eggs to make this work. To arrange to contribute, e-mail him at

11 Replies to "Post-Easter 'recycling': West Seattle egg collection for fertilizer"

  • ILoveWestSeattle March 28, 2012 (10:50 am)

    Who would buy eggs to decorate for Easter and then just throw them away??? Is this commonplace? If so, one more example of crazy wastefulness.
    Another suggestion to avoid waste would be to give them to people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from or feed them to your dog or cat.

  • Cowpie March 28, 2012 (11:01 am)

    What about the paint on the shells? I can’t believe that would be good in fertilizer????

  • Cstar March 28, 2012 (11:19 am)

    1000 eggs seems like a lofty goal. Best of luck to you though!

  • Amy March 28, 2012 (12:15 pm)

    I’m with you, ILoveWestSeattle. We always eat ours. I suppose some people might leave them out for hours as decorations or hidden in the yard? I guess then I’d be concerned about eating them.

  • karen March 28, 2012 (1:12 pm)

    I love this idea. As a parent of kids who LOVE to paint eggs, I always walk a thin line between the fun and the waste. And while I understand that this is a food source, so is the flour I make playdough out of, the cornstarch we use to paint with, the cornmeal we put in the sensory table at school, etc. At some point, everything has a cost – use natural “food products” for play, or process plastics for toys, cut down trees and turn them into blocks, etc.

    OK, I’m sure there will be some people mad at me now! Still, I like the idea.

  • Scoutmom March 28, 2012 (1:34 pm)

    I can understand not wanting to eat boiled eggs that have been left out a room temp during a hunt potential placed near animal waste and stupid human applied pesticides in the grass.

    Would he want empty shells. I certainly generate a bunch of them with normal cooking.

  • ILoveWestSeattle March 28, 2012 (2:27 pm)

    More-than-valid points as to refrigeration/contamination issues…I certainly didn’t want to criticize or impede Paul West’s fertilizer experiment.
    Main point I guess is to try and use the eggs for food first, yard-waste collection/fertilizer second. :)

  • AlkiAnne March 28, 2012 (3:42 pm)

    I’m curious if it would get that rotten egg smell to it. I guess it couldn’t be much worse than a steer or chicken manure mix.

  • Neighborly March 28, 2012 (11:59 pm)

    I love how he’s raising consciousness of locally-sourced to a new level, and making us think about turning waste into a resource that we’d otherwise import from afar. (saying that, we eat our Easter eggs)

  • Nate D March 29, 2012 (4:09 pm)

    wow! – eggs & urine – get some N!

  • Good Alternative April 4, 2012 (10:43 pm)

    I am with I Love West Seattle. I am stoked for egg salad sandwiches and deviled eggs. I’m not quite sure why the teacher thinks eggs won’t be good after only one day…we eat our hard boiled eggs for at least a week…there’s so many ways to eat them! But I love that Paul West has found an alternative way to use up the Easter eggs people “think” they can’t eat. Hard boiled eggs last a long time…even out of the fridge!

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