Is Your Cat Environmentally-Friendly? Tips on How to Recycle Cat Litter
written by: Amy Carson•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 4/14/2009
Kitty litter is notoriously hard to recycle. Check out these tips on how to recycle kitty litter and make your cat more eco-friendly!
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Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - Cat Litter!
We love our cats, but they never make anything easy, do they? Their litter, for example, is notoriously difficult to recycle. The clay used for the most common type of cat litter is mined specifically for that purpose, and causes untold amount of damages to the environment. Further, because our furry feline friends often carry parasites in their stool, we are unable to recycle their litter in the traditional ways. Fortunately, if you are concerned about the environmental impact of your cat litter, there are some great alternatives, including cat litters made from recycled materials.
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How to Recycle Cat Litter
Some estimates say that there is more cat litter in landfills than there are diapers! Because cat litter cannot be recycled in the most common sense ways we can think off (by stuffing it in a bin down at the local recycling center or tossing it in the compost heap), then cat owners have to be crafty.
Remember before reusing, that it is ill-advised to recycle cat litter, such as composting it in the garden, because cat feces carries a parasite called toxoplasmosis. Though cats are the primary carriers of this parasite, if ingested by humans in any way, it can cause flu-like symptoms and worse in people with weak immune systems.
Some clever cat owners have reported using cat litter to fill holes in an asphalt driveway. They have also reported using cat litter to fill other holes on their property. Others have used it to kill poison ivy. Before employing this strategy, be sure to always remove and throw away the actual cat waste in the litter, using scoops and screens, before reusing. The toxoplasmosis parasite can be passed on to any warm-blooded animal.
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Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter Alternatives
As we all learned in grade school, there are three simple watchwords to remember when considering environmental friendliness – reduce, reuse, and recycle. While your cat’s litter is hard to recycle, you can still be environmentally aware by using alternatives to conventional cat litter such as recycled biodegradable products.
Wood Chips – Wood chip litter comes in cedar and pine varieties and is a byproduct of wood production. Though this type of litter covers the cat waste smell very well, some types of this litter do not clump, and pet owners have sometimes complained that the cats “saw dust” around the house after use. Be sure to do your research before buying.
Corn Cob Litter – This litter is made from corn byproducts. It clumps, neutralizes odors, and does not create dust.
Recycled newspaper – This type of litter is super absorbent and like corn cob and wood chip litter, does not track dust, and is relatively odor-free.
If using biodegradable litter, be sure to also use biodegradable litter bags. There is generally no need to buy special litter bags – a plain brown paper bag will do the trick.