First you will want to use an environmentally friendly litter made of straw, sawmill waste, or hemp. This may then be incorporated into a partially buried compost bin. The waste and litter will be broken down by soil microbes and you will not have to empty it. You would never want to use this compost for vegetable or herb gardening because cat feces contain germs that cause toxoplasmosis and other diseases.
The easiest way to reduce the environmental impact of your litter box is to buy an eco-friendly kitty litter. Many plant-based litters are now available, even ones made from reclaimed wood, or you can make your own litter by shredding old newspapers. Some of the greatest detrimets to the environment caused by traditional cat litters, such as clay or silica based, come from their production and distribution. Clay for cat litter must be mined and processed before it is packaged and shipped to the consumer. And these processes naturally entail environmental consequences. While the environmental costs of production of silica are not as great, the transportation cost more or less makes up for it, since silica is frequently made abroad and shipped to the US. Making your own cat litter or using cat litter made of recycled materials is obviously the best way to cut down on the environmental impact on this end.
As for disposal, plant-based litters are advantageous because they can be composted. Composting your cat litter means that it won’t be taking up space in a landfill somewhere, as clay or silica gel cat litters certainly will. If you do compost your cat litter, you must remove the feces and dispose of them in the trash. Proper disposal of cat feces is essential, for it may contain the parasite Toxoplasma, which can survive in soil or water and be spread to wild animals. This is also why cat feces should not be flushed down the toilet.
So, to summarize: the most eco-friendly way to dispose of cat litter is to buy plant-based litter, remove feces and throw them in the trash, compost the litter.
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