Cat Litter

Yuck! Cat litters are often not biodegradable and made with clay and a lot of chemicals.

Cat owners who want to go zero waste have asked what they can do about their cat litter. Unfortunately, although the plant-based litters are biodegradable, for health reasons soiled cat litter should not go in the compost pile and must to go in the trash. Some products claim to be flushable. You can minimize your impact if you buy more environmentally sustainable litter in the first place.

Cat litter has gone through quite an evolution in recent years moving away from clay, which uses mined clay and often includes chemical additives. It’s also not biodegradable and creates dust. Natural cat litter sales are growing faster than cat litter sales overall (15% vs 2%), which is a good sign. 

Natural ingredients such as corn, wheat and pine have become popular bases for cat litter, and are quite efficient: Wood-based litters can absorb up to 500 times their weight in liquid.  But those with ingredients that are food related experience price fluctuations, and some of the plants are sprayed with chemicals.  

Recently, natural grass litters, such as those that use switch grass, are made from a plant that is not food related, grow quickly without additives and consequently have a low price point. 

Post-consumer paper is another on-trend material for natural cat litter. 

We recommend using any of the biodegradable litters, made from non-food, post-consumer use products – paper and wood – or the switchgrass. Look for packaging that is biodegradable.

The plant-based litters are suitable for the Waste-to-Energy Plant where trash from Bedford ends up.

Here are some examples of what’s on the market:

  1. Feline Pine

Made of pure pine therefore biodegradable and not bad for the Wheelabrator, the waste-to-energy plant where Bedford trash goes. 

Claims it is more efficient than clay litter 7 lbs of pine = 20 lbs of clay. Plastic packaging. 

Made from corn and although biodegradable we don’t recommend it because of the environmental cost of growing corn. 

  • Okocat  Made from reclaimed fallen timbers and unused lumber. Free of additives and chemicals and synthetic scents. Comes in clumping or not.  Some formulas claim to be flushable. Company is committed to sustainable sourcing. Packaging is compostable and biodegradable. 
  • sWheat Scoop biodegradable cat box filler is certified flushable (sWheat Scoop does not recommend flushing the litter into a sump pump hole that has to pump the litter uphill.)

Made from wheat  — a renewable resource, but why grow wheat for cat litter? Unless they are using the wheat stalks – website is not clear on this. 

  • Fresh News Made with 100% recycled paper; Fresh News® is biodegradable and burnable. Dust free. (Fresh News is Michigan based and runs the PaperGator, which pays non-profits for recycled paper.)
  • Frisco Grass Clumping Litter Made with 100% natural grass ingredients with no added chemicals, dyes or fragrances.
  • OurPets Switchgrass Natural Cat Litter with Biochar. Switchgrass is the most recent generation of cat litter. It’s a natural grass litter using the native vegetation of North America. Low cost materials, price stable, made from nonfood materials, no need for pesticides/fungicides/etc. for growth, no fertilization, use of chemical sprays (pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides) or use of toxins for growth. It is a biodegradable, flushable material.