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Simple Genius: The Lowly Egg Carton Gets A Rethink

A student hatches a plan for redesigning the standard egg box.

In thinking about objects in need of a redesign, the lowly egg carton falls pretty low on the list. That is, until we saw this clever concept from Éva Valicsek, a design student at the Institute of Applied Arts, in Hungary. Instead of the usual flapped carton of paper, plastic, or Styrofoam, Valicsek has devised a tray made from a single piece of cardboard, bent accordian-style and with oval cutouts for cradling the eggs. The top is open for easy access, but the contents are held in place by a rubber band at each end.

The cartons might provide great improvements: They're recyclable, stackable, and constructed of the minimal amount of material. Our concern: The openness may not offer fragile shells enough protection, especially in transit (although the addition of a top might solve some of those problems). Still, we love seeing designers take a crack (pun intended) at reinventing commonplace items that often go unconsidered, even if it does entail breaking some eggs. (You saw it coming.)

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  • MarketingXD

    This earlier design uses slightly more card, but already has a lid for advertising and extra protection. I also agree with the comments that existing boxes are better because they use very low-quality recycled cardboard.

  • Isobel Kramen

    The bare edges of 'nests' for eggs are going to break many shells.  Poor designing.

  • Lynn Bowers

    Well it made me sign up to a forum so it must have something..... It reminds me of a simpler cultural time when beauty was as much a part of design as recylability.... This made me go ooooh and that's good in itself, lets not forget that. The flatness for transport of the box is for me a huge plus as I often buy egs from farm shops and would reuse this packaging.... surely the best form of recycling.... and it would make me smile every time I did so.

  • Mehdi

    This design could work for chocolate truffles as well. I'd like to even make the carton out of chocolate.

  • Lisabeth Rosenberg

    I love the way it looks.  I needs tweaking but I like that the carton can fold flat for transportation before eggs are put in it.  That alone seems like it would make a huge savings. If it's not suitable for eggs it might be great for some other type of product. 

  • Mark Bondurant

    This is awfully fun and certainly clever, but current recyclable egg cartons are cast in a paper slurry as a single piece in a single step.  As best as I can figure, this takes three: stamp, fold, and bind.  It's not clear to me either how the bind step would work.  Sorry to be such a downer.  It really is neat and I would enjoy the change of packaging in the market.

  • Stef Marcinkowski

    What an eggcellent idea!

    I'm sure a slight reworking of this design could be done to better protect the eggs while creating a large top panel for branding/product information.

    Redesign the carton like a hardcover book:  two mirror-image halves joined by a spine. The eggies sit in the lower half while the upper half snaps closed. No rubber bands.

    I think I'll GET CRACKING on making a prototype.

  • Mark

    Sorry to chorus other naysayers, but it seems a redesign for the sake of redesign, not improvement of the product.
    The purpose of an egg carton is to protect the product, allow easy transportation and be efficient in materials/space used. This seems to do none particularly well.

  • Brian

    To follow kriemer...and what about the rubber band?  How sustainable is rubber these days?  And would the rubber contaminate the recycling process for the cardboard? 

    One huge improvement that jumped out at me  is that one wouldn't need to open the package to see if there are any broken eggs before buying. 

    If these can't be transported because of the open tops, then this just becomes a pretty design that is unworkable.

    All that said, I agree with you that it's great to see someone looking at the little things upon which we wouldn't think to improve...kinda like toilet paper rolls without the middle cardboard bit.  :)

  • kriemer

    Current paper egg cartons are made from recycle paper fibers that are too beaten up to be used as paper (a normal part of the paper making/recycling process).  So these cartons would not be an improvement just green washing.  Adding a top would just use more wood pulp that could be used elsewhere as packaging.