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How to Dispose of Cat Litter in the UK

by Ben Doyle | Reading Time: 6 minutes

Disposing of cat litter is a necessary part of owning and looking after a cat. That said, cat litter is often messy, smelly and it can cause health issues. Especially for pregnant women.

For some of us, there’s also the environment to consider.

So how should you dispose of cat litter?

In this article, we’ll cover;

  • Throwing cat litter in the bin
  • Composting cat litter
  • Can (and should you) flush cat litter down the toilet?

How to Dispose of Cat Litter: A Quick Guide

The table below shows how to dispose of different types of cat litter here in the UK.

Litter TypeGeneral WasteGreen WasteCompostFlush
Clay
Silica
Wood
Corn
Paper
Tofu
Wheat
Walnut
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Throwing Used Cat Litter in the Bin

The quickest and easiest way to dispose of cat litter is to throw it in the bin. This is also the advice from the Environment Agency.

The type of litter you use will dictate which bin to put it in:

  • Clay and silica cat litter – you should bag up and throw in the general waste bin. 
  • Biodegradable cat litter –  wood, corn, paper, whet or walnut. You can put this in the general waste bin OR the green waste bin. If you put it in the green waste, be sure to remove the poo and don’t bag it. The council will take it away and turn it into compost. 

A More Eco-Friendly Way of Binning Clay and Silica Cat Litter

scopping soiled litter into a cat litter bin

If you put your litter in the general waste, there is a more eco-friendly way to do it. 

When cleaning the litter tray, many of us scoop the waste into a poo bag and throw it in the bin. 

If you have one cat and scoop the litter box twice a day, that’s two plastic bags in the bin, every day. 

Over a year, that’s 730 plastic bags.

For one cat!

If you have several litter boxes, you could throw away double, even triple that amount.

A more eco-friendly way of binning cat litter is to invest in a purpose-made cat litter bin, like the Litter Locker. They have a few benefits;

  • They’re more eco-friendly – some hold several weeks’ worth of waste before they need emptying. If you empty a cat litter bin every two weeks, you reduce the amount of plastic bags you throw away to 26.
  • They’re convenient – keep them at the side of your cat’s litter tray and scoop their mess straight into it. No more scooping into bags, tying them and taking them to the wheelie bin.
  • No smells – You might think that keeping your cats’ waste in a bin for weeks will cause a stink, but it doesn’t. Cat litter bins have seals and filters that stop the smell from escaping.

Composting Cat Litter

composted cat litter

If you use biodegradable cat litter like wood, corn, paper, etc. you can choose to compost it yourself.

Note: You cannot compost clay and silica-based litters.

When composting used cat litter, always remove the faeces first. Some cat poo (not all) contains a parasite called Toxoplasmosis gondii. This can be dangerous for;

  • Pregnant women
  • Very young or very old people
  • People with weak immune systems
  • Transplant patients
  • People with AIDS

That means you have to be careful about;

  1. How long you compost it for – make sure you compost cat litter for at least 18 months to make it as safe as possible.
  2. How you handle it – Always wear gloves when handling composted cat litter and wash your hands well after.
  3. Where you spread it – don’t ever spread composted cat litter on veggie beds or where you’re growing anything edible. Only use it in borders and pots. Make sure you keep kids away from the areas your spread it.

Can I Flush Cat Litter Down The Toilet?

flushing cat litter

Many cat litter manufacturers produce ‘flushable’ cat litter.

Someone asked Thames Water Company if cat litter is safe to flush. Here was their response:

 Still, it’s predicted that the rise of flushable cat litter will cost water companies millions to combat:

 

Three Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Flush Cat Litter 

The water companies say you shouldn’t flush cat litter, but why?

Here are three reasons;

  1. It can block your waste pipes – Even flushable cat litter can block your pipes. Corn and wood-based sediment in the system congeals and causes blockages.
  2. Cat poo is a health risk to humans – some cats carry a parasite called  Toxoplasmosis gondii. This is especially dangerous for pregnant women. UK water treatment plants aren’t designed to kill this parasite so it could end up in your drinking water.
  3. It’s also harmful to wildlife – Toxoplasmosis gondii could end up in rivers via water treatment plants. Once in the rivers, it can affect fish and in turn, the animals that eat them.

In Conclusion

Disposing of cat litter isn’t rocket science. Still, you should be careful about how you do it.

Cat poo can be dangerous. As pet owners, we have an obligation to keep ourselves, our families and local areas safe.

So;

  • If you choose to compost it – keep it in the compost pile for at least 18 months. Don’t use it in veggie beds or where you grow edibles and keep it away from where kids play.
  • Don’t flush it – even if it’s labelled as ‘flushable’. Not only can it block your waste pipes.
  • If in doubt, bin it – If you use clay or silica litter, this is your only option anyway. If you use biodegradable litter, you can put it in your green waste bin and the council will turn it into compost.
ben doyle

Ben Doyle

My name is Ben Doyle and I co-own Pet Checkers. I spend most of my time looking after all kinds of animals, from dogs to eagles. When I’m not taking care of animals, I’m photographing them and writing about them here on our website.

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