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How to Dispose of Cat Litter Without Plastic Bags: 6 Vet-Verified Tips & Tricks

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

hand scooping cat litter box near window

How to Dispose of Cat Litter Without Plastic Bags: 6 Vet-Verified Tips & Tricks


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM) Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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As cat parents, we are constantly looking for ways to improve the litter experience in our homes. Litter boxes can be one of the most challenging things to maintain, requiring daily effort. Constantly using plastic bags to dispose of litter can be very bad for the environment.

This is especially true since there are a lot of litters that are compostable or biodegradable, making them very good candidates for other throwaway measures. In this article, we aim to educate you on all of the options you have to dispose of your cat litter, making this a one-stop shop for your next avenue of ridding the poo.

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The 6 Tips & Tricks on How to Dispose Cat Litter Without Plastic Bags

1. Buy Flushable Litter

One of the first steps in trying to dispose of cat litter without a plastic bag is simply to buy flushable litter. If you’ve never heard of this concept before, you might wonder exactly what it is.

Flushable litter is usually made of:
  • Corn
  • Wood
  • Pine
  • Wheat
  • Cassava
  • Sawdust
  • Recycled paper

Essentially, manufacturers make flushable litter out of materials that you can dispose of in your septic system. There is quite some controversy around this subject, as many resources across the web argue that this is not good for your plumbing.

The bottom line is that anything marketed as flushable is biodegradable. However, sometimes the degrading process takes a long time, which is why it can be hard on septic systems and shouldn’t be dumped in large quantities. One scoop per flush shouldn’t hurt if you are an avid litter dumper.

However, if you’re dumping large quantities of litter at a time, it can absolutely impact your septic system. Simply be mindful of how often and how much you are doing at a time. Do your own research and pick the material that you think would work best in your septic system to ensure you won’t encounter any problems with this disposal method.

Image Credit: frantic00, Shutterstock

2. Use a Brown Paper Bag

If you’re worried about the environment, you can always use a brown paper bag in place of plastic. Because cat litter can be quite moist and seep through paper bags, we highly recommend that you double bag to avoid this happening.

Also, this is an excellent method to use when your trash can is almost full, and you’re ready to take it out to the dump. That way, you won’t smell your trash can for a few days before you dispose of it.

Brown paper bags have trouble containing smell, which can be an automatic downside for some. However, if you do it when it’s time to take out the garbage, you will notice little difference.

3. Cat Litter Disposal System

If you have some extra cash on hand and want a good way to invest that money, you might like to look at cat litter disposal systems. There are several on the market, but there are definite favorites.

Check out the feline favorite: Litter Genie Plus Cat Litter Disposal System. Similar to the diaper genie, this is a way to put your cat’s litter into a sealed-off canister to reduce smells in the home and keep everything clean and tidy.

Keep in mind that these types of gadgets do involve plastic bags in some respects. So, this might not be the best method if you want to avoid plastic completely, but it can be a great way to reduce the amount of plastic that you use.

man cleaning cat litter tray
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

4. Compost Your Cat Litter

When your cat is done doing its business, you can always compost the litter provided that it is compostable. You can compost many different litters, and usually if the litter is flushable, it is compostable as well. It’s a great way to give back to the environment. However, this method is also controversial, so be fully informed on the risks before considering this option.

5. Disposable Litter Boxes

Disposable litter boxes are a great way to dispose of the whole thing when the time comes – no plastic bags needed! Lots of people like these options because they offer a cleaner and more hassle-free way of changing out the litter box.

There’s no scooping required. You simply wait until the litter box gets full and chuck it into the garbage. It might be very cost-effective for one-cat homes, but it might not be as feasible for multi-cat households, so always keep that in mind.

Cat’s Desire Biodegradable & Disposable Litter Boxes are a great example! There are 15 boxes in total. They are made from recycled cardboard and have a moisture barrier. When you’re finished with one, you simply dispose of it, and you won’t have to hassle with plastic bags.

So, if you are thinking about composting or just want to contribute to reducing carbon footprint, this is a terrific choice. If you find it is getting a little expensive, you could also put these out as separate litter box alternatives.

playful tabby cat looking in cardboard box
Image Credit: Creative Cat Studio, Shutterstock

6. Biodegradable Bags

Instead of buying plastic bags, you can always buy biodegradable bags. It’s the same exact concept and almost the same texture, but totally better for the environment! So, now you can have a guilt-free way of scooping and not using plastic.

For example, the Earth Rated Poop Bags are made with 65% certified post-consumer recycled plastic, and the leakproof designs are totally biodegradable and perfect for the environment.

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Why Are Plastic Bags Bad?

Plastic bags are a real problem. It is estimated that around 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. They are damaging our environment, to say the least. The United States consumes 100 billion of these plastic bags, so we contribute to the majority of the problem.

Plastic bags seriously contaminate the environment. They take hundreds of years to degrade and break down into tiny toxic particles called microplastics that contaminate the soil and waterways. Microplastics enter the systems of our farm life, wild animals, and even us.

Any way that we can reduce the amount of plastic we use, we can help our environment. Reducing the number of plastic bags you use when disposing of cat litter can significantly reduce the number of plastic that makes its way to landfills and the environment.

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Now you have a few alternatives to scooping litter into a plastic bag. You can improve your scooping experience and save the environment in several ways.

If you are interested in any of the above methods, you can always research further on how to do it, especially if you are composting. Composting is somewhat of an art, so you need to learn the appropriate way beforehand.

Featured Image Credit: Alaina Sharpshair, Shutterstock

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