Although most cat litters on the market are made from clay (both clumping / scooping and non-clumping traditional clay litter), cat owners are showing an increasing interest in eco-friendly options. These eco-friendly litters are typically biodegradable and made from sustainable materials (like corn, grass, and wheat) or from reclaimed or recycled materials like newspapers.
“Every chance [where] We can redirect or reuse materials to support our earth’s resources. This is a great alternative for everyone, ”says Tony Piede, Senior Brand Manager at Tidy Cats. “In yesterday’s news, used paper and cardboard waste is being diverted. Paper is also a material that degrades easily once it has reached its life cycle. “
Eco-friendly litters are not only environmentally conscious, they are usually also free of potentially harmful chemicals. Most also weigh a lot less than clay litter (an added bonus when transported from the car to your house). Some eco-friendly litters are even advertised as flushable.
“Whether it’s the product itself or the packaging, manufacturers are evolving to make their products greener,” said Tierra Bonaldi, pet lifestyle expert for the American Pet Products Association. “We saw new pebbles and walnut litter, so there are definitely new litter materials on the market every year. Litters made from (environmentally friendly) materials are known to be less toxic and biodegradable, which makes them environmentally friendly. “
Dr. Jessica Lowe, medical director of VCA Beacon Hill Cat Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, says approximately 70% of customers ask them about cat litter. “Concerns are dust, odor reduction, slight clumping, urine absorption, and cost,” she says, adding that about a quarter of her customers specifically ask about natural or environmentally friendly waste options. “There’s an increase, especially compared to 10 years ago when I was rarely, if ever, asked,” she says.
It is natural for people who are concerned about using environmentally friendly products for themselves and their families to think of their pets as well. “There is a certain consumer sector that is looking for healthy, safe and environmentally friendly products for their home, including the choices they make in the garbage can,” said Jean Broders, Senior Brand Manager at Kent Pet Group, maker of World’s Best Cat Litter. “Consumers want cat litter that is easy to care for, durable, and inexpensive. You will invest in a litter that performs but appreciates the added benefits of being healthy, safe, and environmentally friendly. “
Here are some eco-friendly cat litter options
Depending on the brand, corn-based litter can be made from corn on the cob or corn kernels. Corn on the cob is a waste product from the food industry that would otherwise be thrown away, and corn is renewable, sustainable and biodegradable. Both types of corn-based litter clump together and are shovelable. Corn litter is soft, naturally absorbent and practically dust-free, and is excellent at controlling odors.
Grass-based litters are one of the newer eco-friendly litter materials and are made from grass or grass seeds. Grass waste is not only renewable, sustainable and biodegradable, it is also extremely absorbent, clumpable, shovelable and practically dust-free.
Paper litter, which can be formulated as pellets or granules, is generally made from recycled paper. Paper litter, while fairly absorbent, does not usually clump together. This type of waste should be scooped up and changed frequently to control odors. Paper litter is practically dust-free.
Waste from ground walnut shells utilizes another food industry by-product that is typically thrown away. Walnut shell litter is naturally absorbent, practically dust-free and finely structured and has a mild, pleasant odor.
Wheat is renewable, sustainable and biodegradable. Some wheat-based litters are made from “secondary wheat” (wheat that is not used for human consumption). Wheat litter clumps and scoops easily and offers good odor control. It has a soft, delicate texture that many cats like.
Waste from pine, cedar, and other woods can be formulated as small pellets or granules, or fine like sawdust or wood shavings. Wood-based waste is generally made from wood waste from the recycled wood industry. Pellet wood-based litters are very absorbent, but do not clump together. Lump together some finer formulations. Wood-based litters provide excellent odor control but require frequent scooping and replacement.
Eco-friendly cat litter considerations
With so many eco-friendly litters, you can spend some time researching the different types to find one that ticks all your boxes. “Ultimately, waste products have to do what the owner wants, be it odor control, lump protection, dust-free and at a reasonable price,” says Tierra.
And don’t forget to consider your cat’s preferences as well. After all, a litter isn’t worth much if your cat isn’t using it. “No. 1 is what kind of texture they like,” says Dr. Lowe. “Some cats won’t use the litter box exclusively because they don’t like the way it feels when they step on it. If your cat loves eco-friendly litter , that’s great, but if not, keep looking until you find the perfect fit. “
Beyond environmentally friendly cat litter
Don’t just stop with trash. Go green with your litter box, scooper, and even your poop bags. Disposable litter boxes that are biodegradable or compostable allow you to be kind to the earth while also making litter box maintenance easier. Most are made of paper or cardboard that will crumble after they have served their purpose. Biodegradable litter boxes that break up in a landfill make cleaning litter boxes a breeze. Or if you can’t throw away, look for a litter box made from recyclable materials.
For shovels, try one made from environmentally friendly materials or one made from recyclable materials. When you scoop the poop, place it in a compostable or biodegradable poop bag.
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