As a cat owner, we can be more eco-friendly by learning how to dispose of cat litter the green way. On average, a single small community has to dispose of about 100 tons of cat waste and cat litter in a year. These are just some methods that helped me reduce the amount of waste I throw away and ultimately led me to develop a cleaner lifestyle – for me and my cats.
The key thing that you need for this to work is patience. When you apply any of the methods that I give below, it may not seem like it’ll make that much of a difference but it will. Some of these go-green solutions may require you to build new habits.
The methods that I recommend include:
1. Try Composting Kitty Litter
- Compost Bin
- Compostable Cat Litter
- Compost Materials (Soil, Leaves, Sawdust, etc.)
- Garden Tools
Composting is one of the tried and proven methods of eco-friendly trash disposal for biodegradable materials. Before you go ahead and start digging a new compost pit, let’s go over a few things you will need for this method:
You can either opt to buy a pre-made compost bin or make your own by using several planks of wood. Digging a compost pit may not be the way to go as you would have to find new places to dig when you’ve filled up the hole.
Biodegradable and Compostable Cat Litter
You definitely need to make sure that the cat litter that you are using is compostable. Products that have clay, sand or silica components are major don’ts; instead, you should opt for brands that use natural and organic materials, such as wheat-based cat litters.
Soil and other composting materials
In the same way that you would compost food or trash, you need to put in other materials in the compost bin to help with the degradation process. Aside from just putting in soil, sawdust and leaves can be put into the bin as well.
Your compost bin should have a shovel and a cover/lid to seal and prevent the odor from wafting out and into your neighbor’s yard. Having a shovel or even a pitch fork is helpful when you’ll need to turn over the contents of your compost bin.
The cost of this method varies depending on how you get a compost bin since you could purchase one for around $50 or spend if you make your own. You would be able to find all the other tools in your garden shed and get composting materials, such as soil and leaves, from your garden as well.
If you are using a non-compostable cat litter, you’ll need to look for a new brand that offers biodegradable and compostable alternative. This wouldn’t necessarily be an extra cost because of the many options and competitive prices of the natural and organic cat litters in the market.
Compared to the other methods, this is one where you’ll have to invest a bit more – both in time and in work. However, if you do everything right, this is definitely one of the greenest techniques to litter disposal. Composting is one of the most effective methods, but it is also definitely one of the methods that require a lot of patience since composting time can last between 6 months to a year.
The process of composting cat litter can be broken down into 3 steps: Preparation, Composting, Using the Compost:
The main points of preparation are getting the compost bin and choosing the right cat litter. Opting for a brand that uses all organic materials in the formula, such as wheat, soy, and corn, should be your main priority. The whole method will be ineffective if your cat litter is non-compostable.
You can start the process by adding the first layer of compost material then putting in your cat waste. Be sure to cover that with another layer of compost material. Every time you empty the content of your litter box, just dump-and-cover. To hasten the process, you can also aerate the contents every now and then by turning it over with your shovel
#3. Using the Compost
After composting for 12 months, your cat’s poop should be a loamy and nutrient-rich soil that you can use for your flower pots, ornamental plants, or as mulch. Many composters suggest waiting up to 18 months before using the compost for your fruit and vegetable garden. You need to make sure that you store and package your compost – and find a way to use it as well so all your efforts won’t go to waste.
The entire process of composting relies on the microorganisms that break down and degrade the materials that you put inside the bin. The microorganisms are able to thrive in a warm, nutrient-rich, and moist environment. The bin should not be completely sealed in since oxygen is also a requirement.
This method may initially take some time to get used to but it is well worth it. The process is sure to reduce your cat’s carbon paw print by converting their waste into a usable product.
2. Brands that come in recyclable packaging
- Biodegradable Cat Litter
- Recyclable Packaging
Biodegradable Cat Litter
Every time you buy your cat litter, what do you do with the packaging? While many a cat owner has set their sights on the biodegradable cat litter options, there are not so many who think about the packaging their biodegradable cat litter is in. However, some companies have had their eye in this detail.
Making use of a recyclable cat litter packaging will lessen the amount of waste you throw away. These products can be reused or recycled in your own home or you could bring them to a nearby recycling center where they can upscale the product into something new or something different.
Purina Petcare is marketing a biodegradable cat litter product in a recyclable jug. For Purina Pro Plan Renew, the packaging is made from recycled newspapers, cardboards, and other materials. Even the cap is made of 100% recyclable materials – not plastic.
3. Collecting grocery bags
- Old grocery or plastic bags
- Storage space
With the earth-friendly movement of reusing grocery tote bags, we are slowly trying to live without plastic bags. However, some grocery marts have not fully incorporated a go-green campaign on their use of packaging. One way to take advantage of that is to use those bags to dispose of your trash.
Instead of buying the small plastic packets that were made to pick up and pack up cat poop and litter clumps for disposal, make use of the plastic that you already have. A few items that you can use are:
Toilet paper rolls, paper towels, and disposable diapers are all packaged in large plastic bags. Instead of throwing that big bag out, you can use it as a big cat litter disposal bag the next time you clear out the litter box.
Small narrow plastic bags
Newspapers are delivered inside narrow little plastic pouches that you can use when you need to scoop up cat feces of clumps formed in the litter box. Be sure to have a small scooper that will let you scoop that into your narrow bag.
Any type of packaging
Whenever you buy anything new, a computer, a toy, a new appliance, chances are that it was packaged inside a box and some plastic. You can reuse that plastic packaging for clearing out the litter box.
The best thing about this method is that it is absolutely free. By reusing the plastics that you get, you minimize the need to purchase more just to throw away cat waste. However, packaging your cat waste inside a plastic bag, although reused, isn’t really an effective way to go green. It is one of the easier methods that you can apply that won’t require that much of an investment in time.
The main benefits that you do get from this method are that it’s a great way to save money, as well as time. Reusing the plastic bags that you already have is a convenient way to dispose of your kitties’ daily droppings.
4. Use paper bags
- New or Old (preferred) Paper Bags
- Biodegradable Cat Litter
- Small Scooper
Most cat owners have a daily routine of scooping up their cat’s poop and litter box clumps into small plastic bags, which they seal and throw away. Unfortunately, this method of disposal is extremely harmful to the environment since it prevents the breaking down of the waste and used litter.
Since plastic doesn’t degrade well, it only ends up piling up at your local landfill. Thus, using a biodegradable alternative, such as a paper bag, would be much more eco-friendly. Buying a pack of 100 small paper bags would only cost you around $10.
You’ll easily find paper bags at your local grocery stores or convenience shops, so there is no need to put in an extra trip to purchase the bags. You can just get them on your next trip to the market. This makes this method really convenient.
Using paper bags as a biodegradable alternative is great – and is definitely better than using plastic. However, if you could opt for a recycled paper bag, that would really make it a better approach for the environment.