The Eco-Friendly Way to Dispose of Cat Litter

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Proper disposal of cat litter is an important aspect of sustainable living. Not only does it help keep our homes clean and free of unpleasant odors, but it also plays a significant role in protecting the environment. Choosing an environmentally-friendly and biodegradable option, such as those made from recycled paper or wood chips, is just the first step in responsible litter disposal. Regular litter maintenance and waste reduction techniques, as well as utilizing alternative litters like peat moss, shredded newspaper or coconut husk, are also crucial in ensuring a green way of disposing cat litter. In this article, we will discuss the various options for cat litter disposal and provide tips for proper storage, odor control, spill prevention, and overall sustainability.

How to dispose of cat litter the green way?

Choosing a Green Litter

Choosing a Green Litter

There are several options for selecting a litter that is both safe for your cat and the environment. One of the most environmentally-friendly choices is a biodegradable litter made from natural materials such as recycled paper or wood chips. These types of litters are made from sustainable resources and can be composted or disposed of in a manner that has minimal impact on the environment.

Beside, using a dust-free litter that is made from non-toxic materials can also be beneficial as it reduces the amount of dust and other particles that are released into the air.

While traditional clay and silica litters have been the most popular choice for many years, there are a number of alternative litters available that are better for the environment and often more cost-effective.

One alternative to traditional cat litters is peat moss and shredded newspaper. Peat moss and shredded newspaper is a natural, renewable resource that is biodegradable and can be composted or used as a soil amendment in gardens. It is also dust-free, making it a great option for cats with respiratory issues. My friends switched to using peat moss and shredded newspaper as a litter for their cat. They were pleased to find that it was more absorbent than traditional litters and had a natural odor-control. The peat moss also made an excellent fertilizer for their garden and they were pleased to reduce the amount of waste they produced.

Another alternative is Coconut husk, it is a by-product of coconut farming, it is biodegradable, dust-free, and has a natural odor control properties.

These alternatives may require more frequent changes and a bit more maintenance than traditional litters but they are worth considering as they are more environmentally-friendly and can be a great option for cats who may be sensitive to traditional litters. It’s also important to keep in mind that, while these alternatives may be more eco-friendly, they may not be suitable for all cats and households. It’s important to try different types of litters and see which one works best for you and your cat.

Reusable litter containers or scoops

Scoop daily

Reusable litter containers or scoops are a great alternative to plastic bags for storing and transporting cat litter. They can be made of various materials such as metal, plastic or other durable materials. They are easy to clean and maintain and can be used multiple times, which can save money and reduce waste. They come in different sizes and designs to fit the needs of different households.

Some examples include metal litter scoops, plastic litter containers with lids, or cloth litter bags with drawstring closures. Make sure that the container or scoop is cleaned and disinfected regularly to maintain hygiene and prevent odors.

Litter Bin Maintenance

  • Regularly clean and sanitize the litter bin to prevent odors and maintain hygiene. This includes removing solid waste and clumps of urine, and scraping the sides and bottom of the bin to remove any stuck-on debris.
  • Use a mild detergent and hot water to clean the bin, and rinse it thoroughly before refilling it with fresh litter.
  • Use an odor-eliminating spray or baking soda to help neutralize any lingering odors.
  • Consider using a litter mat to catch any excess litters or to prevent litter from being tracked out of the litter area.
  • Use a litter liners or reusable container to make cleaning and disposal of the waste easier.
  • Consider using a self-cleaning litter box if you want to reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning the litter.
  • Keep an eye on the level of litter in the bin and add more as needed.
  • It is also important to note that, in addition to regular cleaning, it is recommended to completely empty and clean the litter bin at least once a month to prevent buildup of bacteria and odors.

Cloth or paper bags

Cloth or paper bags

Cloth or paper bags can be a good alternative to plastic bags for disposing of cat litters. They are biodegradable, which means they can break down naturally in the environment. They can be thrown in the trash, but it is better to compost them if possible. Cloth bags can be washed and reused multiple times, which makes them more sustainable than paper bags. However, paper bags are also a good option, as they can be made from recycled materials and also can be composted. When using cloth or paper bags, it is important to ensure that they are properly sealed and secured to prevent odors and spills.

Composting

Composting

Composting cat litters made of natural materials such as wood chips, paper or straw can be an environmentally-friendly way to dispose of them. Composting is the process of breaking down organic materials into nutrient-rich soil amendment. When cat litters made of natural materials are added to a compost pile, they will break down and add valuable nutrients to the soil. This can be used to improve the quality of your garden soil, and also reduces the amount of waste going to landfills.

Note that not all cat litters are suitable for composting. Litters made of clay, scented litters or those treated with chemicals should not be added to a compost pile as they can be harmful to plants and the environment. Also, it is crucial to make sure the cat litter are thoroughly composted before being used in the garden. This can take several months. I also recommendable to keep the compost pile away from the house to avoid odors and to keep it dry and well aerated to promote decomposition.

Here are step by step on how to composting of cat litter:

  1. Identify the types of cat litters that can be composted. These include paper-based litters, wood chips, straw, and some types of biodegradable litters. It is important to avoid composting litters made of clay or other non-biodegradable materials as they will not break down in the compost pile and can harm the environment.
  2. Set up a compost bin or pile in a suitable location, such as a backyard or community garden. Make sure the bin or pile is located away from the house and in a well-draining area to prevent odors and promote decomposition.
  3. Add the cat litter to the compost pile along with other organic materials such as food scraps, yard waste, and leaves. Mix the materials well to ensure proper aeration and moisture levels.
  4. Keep the compost pile moist but not waterlogged, and turn it regularly to ensure proper aeration and decomposition.
  5. Allow the compost pile to sit for several months, until the material has broken down into nutrient-rich soil amendment. Use a pitchfork or compost aerator to mix the pile and check for signs of decomposition.
  6. Once the compost is ready, it can be used as a soil amendment in gardens, flower beds, or lawns.
  7. It is important to note that, even though composting cat litters can be beneficial for the environment and for your garden, it may not be appropriate for all households. It may not be possible for people living in apartments or who do not have outdoor space.

Flushable litter

Flushable

Some types of cat litters are designed to be flushable, which means they can be disposed of by flushing them down the toilet. These types of litters are typically made from a material that is designed to break down quickly in water and not clog pipes. However, it is important to check with the manufacturer to ensure that the litter are safe for septic systems and plumbing.

Some flushable litters are made of materials like cellulose, paper or other natural fibers, but it is crucial to check the packaging and instructions before flushing to ensure that it is safe to do so. But not all flushable cat litters are safe to flush. Some litters may contain chemicals or other materials that can be harmful to plumbing and septic systems, and should not be flushed.

Beside, I always recommended to flush only small amounts of litter at a time, as well as to avoid flushing it down with other waste, and to follow all the manufacturer’s instructions. You also check with your local waste management and sewage company to see if they have any regulations or recommendations for flushing cat litter, as some areas may not allow flushing of litters.

Litter recycling

Some waste management companies do accept cat litters for recycling, but it is not a widespread practice and availability may vary depending on the location. The recycling process may involve separating the usable materials, such as the clay or other minerals, from the organic waste, and then processing the usable materials to be reused. However, not all types of litters can be recycled and it is important to check with your local waste management company to see if they accept litters for recycling and what types of litters are accepted.

Even if a waste management company does accept litters for recycling, it may not always be the most environmentally-friendly option as it still require energy and resources to process the litters. Composting or using flushable litters may be a more sustainable solution, especially if it is not widely available.

Some pet stores or manufacturers may have their own recycling program for the litter, so it is always a good idea to check with them and see if they have any options for recycling or proper disposal.

Proper Litter Maintenance

Maintaining your cat’s litter is a crucial step in ensuring a green way of disposing cat litters. Regular cleaning and replacing the litter can help reduce the amount of waste produced and keep odors under control. It is recommended to scoop the litter box at least once a day, and to completely change the litter every one to two weeks, depending on the number of cats in the household.

To reduce the amount of litter used, consider using a litter mat to catch excess litter that is tracked out of the box. A litter mat can also be placed under the litter box to catch any spills or leaks. Another tip is to use a scoop with a built-in sifter, this way you can easily remove any waste and solid clumps, while keeping the clean litter in the box.

Properly store your cat’s litter. Keeping it in a sealed container can help prevent odors and spills. If you are using a biodegradable or alternative litters, make sure to store it in a cool, dry place to prevent it from breaking down prematurely.

Expert advices

  • Consider using a self-cleaning litter box, which automatically separates waste and clean litter, reducing the need for daily scooping and disposal.
  • Use a litter deodorizer to neutralize odors and maintain a fresh smelling home. Be sure to choose a natural, non-toxic deodorizer that is safe for your cat and the environment.
  • Train your cat to use a toilet or a composting bin, this way you can reduce the amount of litter used and ultimately disposal.
  • If you have more than one cat, consider using separate litter boxes for each cat to reduce waste and promote cleanliness.
  • When disposing of litters, avoid flushing it down the toilet as it can cause clogs and damage septic systems. Instead, dispose of it in the trash or compost it if possible.
  • Educate yourself about the environmental impact of different types of litters and choose one that aligns with your values for sustainability.
  • Lastly, encourage friends and family to adopt eco-friendly practices when it comes to cat litter disposal.

Conclusion

There are a variety of options available for disposing of cat litters, including using green litters, composting, using reusable containers or scoops, and litter recycling. With a little bit of effort and a lot of commitment, we can all make a difference in reducing the impact of cat litters on our planet.

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Alix Wilson

Alix Wilson is Veterinarian at Center for Avian & Exotic Medicine. She has always had a passion and love for animals. She attended Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine for her undergraduate degree. Alix graduated from Ross in 2005. Follow me on: Linkedin

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