How to properly dispose of used litter

As a pet owner, you know just how wonderful it can be to have a kitty in your home. That is, until it comes time to deal with the litter box. A dirty litter box is an unwelcome addition to any home, creating an unpleasant odor, a potential health hazard, and an unhappy cat.

If you’re a new cat owner, you may be wondering how to dispose of used cat litter. Using a simple garbage bag and trash can is often the best way to dispose of used litter. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about throwing out used cat litter.

Orange cat climbing into a litter box

Scoop the box every day

As a rule of thumb, you should scoop out large clumps every day and empty the entire litter box once a week. You may need to do this more often based on the number of cats you have and their eating habits. Take note of your cats’ actions; if they scratch outside the box or go to the bathroom elsewhere, it’s time to replace the litter. When doing your daily scoop, you can dispose of the waste in plastic grocery bags or doggy poop bags before putting the bags in your trash can.

Use heavy-duty trash bags

When emptying the litter box, the last thing you want is to spill dirty litter and cat waste all over your floor. One way to prevent this is by using strong, thick trash bags. These are less susceptible to tearing and won’t split when you fill them with heavy litter. This is especially vital if you use clay cat litter, which can be particularly dense. If you have only thin trash bags, you can double up instead. Put one bag inside the other to get extra support and reduce any tearing.

Put the bag in the trash can before dumping the box

Another way to prevent spillage is by putting the bag in a trash can before disposing of the litter. If you’ve tried dumping the box while holding a trash bag, you already know how difficult and messy it can be. Without a trash can, it’s far too easy to spill dirty litter on the floor and yourself.

The trash can will hold the bag open and steady for you, making it easier to pour out the litter. Consider getting a dedicated trash barrel for the litter box. This way, you can quickly dispose of the waste without carrying your kitchen barrel around the house.

Use a new bag every time

Use a new bag whenever you change the litter box. Don’t continue filling the same bag every time you dump out the box. Instead, tie off the bag as soon as you finish emptying the box, then dispose of it outside. This will prevent the bag from becoming too heavy, limit the risk of ripping, and keep your home healthier and less stinky.

As mentioned, it’s also helpful to use a separate trash bag and barrel for cat litter. Not only is it more convenient, but it’s also more hygienic. When using a separate trash bag, you can take it out of your home immediately. This reduces the risk of inhaling any potentially harmful particles. Plus, you won’t need to worry about the smell.

Person scooping out a litter box
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Eco-friendly disposal

Throwing litter in the trash isn’t the only way to dispose of used cat litter. Here’s how to dispose of cat litter the green way. First, make sure you’re using a biodegradable litter made of natural materials. Litters made of paper, corn, wheat, pine, and wood shavings will break down much faster than clay litters. Next, use biodegradable bags or paper bags to scoop the used litter into. These will also break down faster than standard plastic trash bags.

You should never flush your used cat litter, even if it is marketed as being flushable. Flushing cat waste can clog your pipes, contaminate drinking water, and harm the environment. Cat waste contains a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii that can spread through water and soil when you flush it. If can infect humans by contact or accidental ingestion and be incredibly harmful to immunocompromised and pregnant people. Composting cat litter can have similar dangers. So, if you want to reduce your environmental impact, use litter disposal bags made of natural materials.

Litter boxes are not difficult to clean, but they must be taken care of regularly. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an even bigger mess on your hands. But correctly disposing of the waste is crucial for your and your family’s health and the well-being of the environment on the whole. By following the steps above and using a trash bag and garbage can, you can safely and easily clean your kitty’s litter box.

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