Can You Compost Cat Litter?

cat exiting litter box
(Last Updated On: October 4, 2022)

You might not know much about cat litter, but one question may be weighing heavily on your mind: how do you dispose of cat litter properly, so it doesn’t affect the environment? Can cat litter be composed?

For those of you who are already composting at home, you’d know that it’s one of the most environmentally friendly practices. It greatly lessens all the waste and rubbish being sent over to landfills. And what better way to create some extra nutrients for your plants in your backyard?

However, before you go getting too excited, not all cat litters can be composted! So keep reading before you get started.

Can I Compost Cat Litter?

Just like most things in life, the answer is never usually clear-cut. Composting is one of the greenest and most environmentally friendly ways to deal with organic waste, as the nutrients maintained in the waste can be used as an effective fertilizer for plants.

A short answer to this question is that you can indeed compost cat litter. However, there are considerations to doing it correctly and safely.

Also, some litters that are made of biodegradable materials are compostable. However, not all litters are exactly similar.

Certain cat litters that are made from materials like sodium bentonite are often compostable, yet there are damaging to the environment.

You’ll find that the best cat litter types to compost are corn litter, wheat, and paper. This is simply because their materials are fastest and easiest to biodegrade.

How to Compost Cat Litter? Can You Put Cat Litter in Compost?

composting

Composting cat litter should be done with the same process as composting any other form of organic waste. If you already have a compost bin or pile, then it is as straightforward as dumping the cat litter into it.

If you have not started composting, then there are different ways to begin.

An easy way would be to get a large outdoor bin. All you would need to do is place the cat litter and other organic waste (e.g., vegetable and fruit scraps, peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc.). Not only do you reduce the amount of waste going to your trash, but you also end up with a good substrate for your garden.

It should be noted that it is important to mix the contents of the compost bin now and then. Mixing the contents aerates the compost, adding oxygen into the mixture that can help move the process along.

Another ingredient that will help your compost go smoothly is water or moisture. Composting will host a natural microbiome that will degrade your organic waste into base nutrients. Aside from oxygen and organic matter, these bacteria will also require water to survive.

What to Consider

Well, the first thing to consider is if you have already begun composting before. For someone who already has a compost bin going, then it will simply be a matter of adding the cat litter into it. However, if you have not yet begun composting, you will have to get some stuff for it

If you have access to an outdoor area such as a backyard, you will have more space to work with. Thi way, you can have a compost pile instead of a bin.

On the other hand, a person who does not have an outdoor area must get a special type of bin from the hardware store. Storing a compost bin inside the house can have other challenges, such as keeping the smell from escaping the bin and attracting pests.

Another important thing to consider is your safety. It goes without saying that composting cat litter means that you might be coming in contact with your cat’s waste. Though you will most likely be wearing protective gloves, it can still be beneficial to be familiar with the risks. The main risk would probably be Toxoplasma gondii, a parasitic protozoan that can be harmful to certain people (e.g., pregnant women, children, etc.).

What Cat Litter to Avoid Composting

Perhaps the most important thing to consider before composting your cat litter is knowing that not all types of cat litter can be composted. While most types of cat litter can be composted, there are a few that cannot.

It is important to remember that composting allows organic waste to biodegrade. Thus, putting things that do not biodegrade in the compost will not work. Examples of such would be sand and clay litter. On the other hand, cat litter based on natural products such as wood, pine, corn, paper, and such should be fine.

If you’re familiar with the brand, yep, Pretty Litter can’t be composted too.

Another thing to consider would be the other chemicals in the cat litter you are using. Some cat litters come with chemicals that help absorb moisture and fragrances to mask the odor of waste. Unfortunately, these substances will not be beneficial to your compost as they can affect the natural microbiome that your compost needs to biodegrade.

These substances include crystals, sodium bicarbonate, and other clumping materials. A good rule of thumb is that composting is bringing back natural products to their base forms, which means unnatural products do not belong in the compost.

Is Cat Litter Compostable? A Summary

Composting cat litter is possible, but there are obviously caveats to it. You need to know which ones can be composted and how to do it properly. A tip is not to add your compost that contains cat litter to your veggies (I mean, that would be pretty gross!). But you can use it for other plants around your home or in your garden that don’t involve vegetables that you eat!

Try to stay away from litters that have strong scents because all it’s going to do is attract your cat over!

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