Recycling Used Cat Litter?

February 25, 2009

Cat litter in a litter box.How can I recyle cat litter waste? Right now, my bags of it end up in trash disposal. I know someone who directly created a slope of it over a cliff, over time! In the past, I've used it to fill holes in my property. The point is, it's not supposed to be used in compost (except for flower beds), and if treated as trash, it just goes into landfills, doesn't it? I am looking for environmentally sound ideas about where to dispose of cat litter. What do you do with your clay or scoop stuff?


Nica from Big Bend, WV


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February 25, 20092 found this helpful
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Used clay, scoop, pellet, or paper kitty litter needs to go in to a land fill and/or buried. No flushing of even the clumped urine (or feces for that matter) down the toilet for certain! There is no other environmentally safe way to dispose of used litter other than buried. Food for thought: What do cats instinctively do? They bury it.

It's admirable of you to try to find an option but anything other than landfill or burying is not safe due to virus/bacteria.

I hope the friend who made a slope on the cliff buried the litter instead of simply dumping it where it remains air born and does not decompose as quickly.

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February 25, 20095 found this helpful
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In my town, the "pooper scooper laws" claim that dog and cat waste is unhygienic and contaminates soil and water.

That's funny. My dad always used our dog's "manure" to fertilize our garden. Some people thought that was gross, but is cow manure any grosser? We know what went into our dog and what came out of her.


If I had a yard I would use cat waste for flower gardening and lawn maintenance. I would use biodegradable litter such as "Yesterday's News" (made from newspaper) or shredded paper.

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February 26, 20099 found this helpful
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You are so right to try to find an answer to this question. Did you know that they mine for the clay just for the purpose of cat litter? That just strikes me as horrible, that we're using a natural resource for that purpose.

I have a friend who uses chicken feed instead of cat litter. She says her cats were allergic to the litter and had begun to get sick any time they scratched around to cover "stuff" up. A guy at the hardware suggested the chicken feed, and she hasn't had any problems since because the feed doesn't have a dust to it. And as a bonus, its cheaper.


I have tried using paper, and its ok, but it's hard to control the smell. Maybe baking soda would help.

Now getting rid of whatever you use for litter and the contents? Harder question. One thing I have considered doing is throwing it away in a paper bag. I mean, think about it. When we throw it away in a plastic bag, we've taken something completely biodegradable and made it almost completely un-biodegradable, since it takes about a hundred years for a plastic bag to break down.

So, my advice would be to use chicken feed (biodegradable) for the litter, and then throw it all away in a paper bag so that it can eventually break down.

Kudos to you for caring and thinking responsibly about what you and your animals consume.

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July 11, 20103 found this helpful
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Breakthrough! Take non clay litter (you can put new litter in place while doing this and toggle them) and after it has been wet through (and solids removed), put it in the sunlight outside! Churn it if needed to expose wet litter.


Let the sun bake out the litter and the smell! You can get multiple reuses this way. Gradually it breaks down into little pieces, but boy is this the way to go!

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March 29, 20143 found this helpful
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Three cats own us. Found this link while searching for environmentally sensible way to dispose of clumping clay kitty litter. We have two litter boxes that get cleaned with a sieve scooper every day and there is never any offensive smell, but that doesn't keep the litter out of the landfill. We NEVER have to replace all the litter by cleaning the boxes every day.

The best I have done so far is to empty the indoor bag into the garbage can bag and hope that when it hits the landfill, the bulldozer will rip it open so the contents can return to the earth, and not stay locked up inside two plastic bags.


So far the garbage can bag has never broken when the garbage collectors pick it up. If we didn't have kitty litter, we would only have to put our garbage out once a month. Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!... or in the words of my mom, from WW II era of austerity... wear it out, use it up, make it do, or do without!

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March 23, 20157 found this helpful
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I have a down-sloped backyard, the farthest part of which is rarely used. I am going to try an experiment. I have 8 indoor cats and a lot of outdoor furries (who go "wherever"). The amount of scoopable waste really builds up, so I have plastic store bags full of about 5-7 lbs. each time I clean the 3 large litter boxes. I am going to try the sandbag method of stacking said bags of litter waste, and begin to fill my yard in a wall that will even out a section.


After getting a good area filled, I will throw lime and soil onto it and begin in another area. Since it is clay, it should provide a decent, weed-free area where a brick terrace/patio can be laid over ground cloth. What does anyone think of this? There is no run-off or ground water issue where I will be doing this, and we have public water- the wells are 42-foot deep and far from any water seepage.

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November 6, 20159 found this helpful
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We have ground hogs by me and dig under our porches. I dump used cat litter in the hole then cover with dirt. They don't dig there for at least 2 years then just add more and cover.

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July 26, 20166 found this helpful
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Cats are no different than humans or any other omnivore. Waste can, over time be composted. Does anyone with land REALLY believe cats,dogs and rodents don't liberally do their business in garden beds?

Human manure can and is used for fertilizer in many countries. It was used in China, India and Taiwan, And I suspect is still used in some places

The key is human manure is composted separately from other manures and is aged. Most bury it for about a year, then add it to a hot compost pile.

That manure produces some of the largest and sweetest veggies

Humans are considered one of the nastiest, unhygienic species on the planet. If our waste can be composted, and nature composes animals in the wild, why not cat scat?

A lot of us need to get over ourselves. Most cat viruses do not cross species though mycopathogens and bacteria are not specie specific and so are a concern.

POOP is a byproduct of life. Cat poo and pee is not anymore "nasty" than any other animals'

JUST be certain the litter is biodegradable and that the manure is heated to around 165 degrees for a good while before sifting the compost and to use on flower beds and around trees , but in a pinch, why not try it on cover crops that recycle?

The resistance to using pet byproducts is mostly the prejudice that the cats are nastier than cows or sheep or other animals.

Cats are predators, on your land, birds who predate as well as coyotes, raccoons, opossumso, squirrels, and other animals poop in your garden...quite a few of them will have parasites and diseases that are only specific to their species.

Bacteria are normally heat labile, however, many viruses from all species may not be.

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More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

May 21, 2020

Is it safe to use, used cat litter after it has been outside in the weather for over 6 years? We have 6 rescued cats we keep inside our home, they go thru a lot of cat litter each year approximately 1,400 to 1,500 pounds. I hope to use it in a compost pile along with grass clippings, kitchen waste, etc.

Please let me know.

Thank you.


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May 22, 20200 found this helpful
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If you're talking about litter that has been outside for 6 years then it may be safe to use in your flower beds or even garden but I think I would use when I first started a garden but flowers and lawns sounds like it would be very good. Environmentalists say it has to compost at least 2 years to be safe to use.
I guess one question would be - was it ever 'turned' during that time? If any of it is less than 2 years old then I would say to wait until it is - maybe start another pile and keep track of dates.
If you are using 'clay' litter you should remember that clay by itself will still be 'slippery' when wet and will need to be mixed with dirt - think of this as just an added ingredient that has some fertilizer mixed in and should be good for plants. Be sure to test a small area to see if you like how it mixes with your yard.

This seems to be a controversial issue but everyone(?) agrees that it all depends on the type of cat litter being used, whether you 'clean' it before trying to compost, where your compost container is located, etc.
The biggest concern is what type of litter being used as it cannot have clay but has to be of all natural material.

This is what you can do. If all natural material litter is used you can compost for a flower bed but NOT where you will be growing anything edible.

"If youre willing to put in the work, you might consider composting cat poop to fertilize your lawn or flower gardensanything that isnt edible."
Let the compost sit for at least two years. This should be enough time for all the harmful bacteria to die off."

Now - is it worth all of this?

I have one indoor cat and I try to use all natural litter. I have a nice sized piece of property and my son digs a large hole at the back end (large 'forest behind me) and when I need clean litter in her box, I empty the litter in the hole and add dirt on top. I use this until it needs to be topped off with dirt and then start another hole.
All actual poop is discarded in the garbage each week. I use a special can until garbage day and then I cut a hole in the plastic bags when I place them in my garbage can so they will hopefully decompose.
Does any of this help? I hope so but it is a lot of trouble.

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