close up photography of sleeping tabby cat

Lotsa Litter…Kitty Litter That Is

Can I compost kitty litter?

close up photography of sleeping tabby cat

I am oftentimes asked by waste-conscious folks if kitty litter can be composted.

Having never been allowed to have cats growing up (my siblings were severely allergic), I never understood the unique relationship between cats and their humans and the even more complicated relationship between cats and the waste products produced to keep them happy (i.e., the food and litter containers, the used litter, the old litter boxes, and the toys!) However, the questions I have received and the stories that have been shared with me since I have been in the outreach role with the LRSWMD have opened my eyes and piqued my interested in the feline-human partnership. I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of what I have learned over the years.

Wet food cans are recyclable.  Rinse them and put them in the blue bin – as long as they are bigger than 2” on two sides, of course. And most wet food cans are; the label can stay on, too.  If your kitty litter comes in a plastic bucket, take off the handle and that bucket can be recycled.  If you are buying litter in a box or a bag, it needs to go in the trash. If you are looking to get as much use out of that item as possible, put the old litter in the empty box or bag and dispose of them in the trash.

I have come to understand that large amounts of kitty litter are used for just one cat so I am oftentimes asked by waste-conscious folks if kitty litter can be composted. Certain brands of kitty litter lend it to more easily be composted but it requires special attention and consideration if you are going to try to compost kitty litter. “The best choices for compostable cat litters are those made from natural, living sources…. Another good option for an earth-friendly and compostable cat-litter is a commercially produced litter made from pine or cedar.” 

Ultimately, it’s up to your level of comfort on how much of your kitty waste you compost, what process you use to compost it, and how you use the finished compost.  Here are some websites with different perspectives which support keeping the used litter out of the landfill. Please review them before you decide whether or not starting your own kitty litter composting system will work for you. Note: Kitty litter and pet waste is NOT accepted in the Lamoille Soil Organics program at LRSWMD Drop-off locations.

And of course, my most favorite strategy, simply  because it generates no waste at all:

But, remember my comment to start this post – I have never lived with a cat in my life so the reality of this actually being possible is may be overly optimistic. And who wants to find your cat on the toilet during your middle of the night visit?!

Please feel welcome to share your kitty experiences in the comments.

Cows Save the Planet Book Discussion – May 6

Partnership Brings Vermont Author to Celebrate International Compost Awareness Week 

The Varnum Memorial Library and the Lamoille Regional Solid Waste Management District (LRSWMD) have partnered to bring awareness, enthusiasm, and Vermont author, Judith D. Schwartz together to celebrate International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW).  Schwartz is “an author who tells stories to explore and illuminate scientific concepts and cultural nuance. She takes a clear-eyed look at global environmental, economic, and social challenges, and finds insights and solutions in natural systems.” https://www.judithdschwartz.com/ 

A co-hosted book discussion will be held on Thursday, May 6 at 6:00 p.m., with author Judith D. Schwartz, to support this year’s ICAW theme, Grow, EAT…COMPOST…Repeat.  “The theme recognizes the circular movement of the organics recycling process flowing from farm to table to farm again. This circular process turns recycled organic materials into compost which creates healthy soils…,” explained Amy Freeman, ICAW Committee Chair. 

In her book Cows Save the Planet, Judith D. Schwartz lays the foundational knowledge for supporting this year’s ICAW theme.  Compost is important for improving or maintaining high quality soil, growing healthy plants, reducing the use of fertilizer and pesticides, improving water quality and protecting the environment.  Schwartz “looks at soil as a crucible for our many overlapping environmental, economic, and social crises” within the covers of this powerful, solutions-oriented book.   

Copies of the book are still available. Email varnumrequests@gmail.com or call 644-2117 today to get your hands on one! To register for the Zoom discussion, visit lrswmd.org/resources/. All attendees will have a chance to win a Soil Saver Backyard Compost Bin, a food scrap collection bucket, or 5 gallons of compost! 

Started in 1995, ICAW is the largest and most comprehensive education initiative of the compost industry and is celebrated annually, nationwide and in other countries, each year during the first full week of May. The goal of the week is to build awareness on the benefits of compost use and organics recycling.  More information on ICAW can be found at http://www.compostfoundation.org.