How to Dispose of Unused Cat Litter — the 5 best ways

If you have unused cat litter you’re looking to get rid of and are wondering how to dispose of it in the best way possible, you have a few options.

To dispose of unused cat litter:

  • Give it to someone who can use it. 
  • Compost it. 
  • Repurpose it. 
  • Bury or dump it on your property. 
  • Send it to the landfill. 

Below we’ll talk about what types of litter work with each method and the pros and cons of each. 

5 Ways to Dispose of Unused Cat Litter

Clay, crystal, and pellet cat litter

It’s easy to dispose of unused cat litter in a much more sustainable and eco-conscious way than simply sending it off to the landfill. 

Keep in mind, these don’t apply to soiled litter — which you should only dispose of by carefully composting, burying, or bagging and sending it to the landfill. 

1. Give it to someone who can use it

The best way to get rid of unused litter is to find someone who needs it. Why let it go to waste?

Unfortunately, that may be easier said than done. 

Finding the right match for your litter can be a challenge. Not all cats will adapt quickly to a new litter. If your litter isn’t the same type they’re used to, it may be a no-go. 

Most rescues and shelters are unable to accept litter donations. They often use shredded paper or the same, standard litter for each cat. Mixing and managing different types of litter, especially with small amounts being donated, is challenging when caring for numerous animals. 

If you can’t find a friend, family member, or neighbor who can make use of your unused litter, consider reaching out on a local pet fostering message board or Facebook group. They’re often grateful for any help. 

2. Compost unused plant-based litter

Tabby cat sitting on edge of compost bin

Additive-free, plant-based litter makes an excellent carbon source, or ‘brown material’, for composting.

You can use unused litter freely in any compost pile, bin, or heap. 

Because of the pathogens found in cat waste, composting used cat litter is a bit more complicated. Compost containing soiled litter should be handled with care and should never be used near edible plant life — like vegetables, herbs, or fruit.

Make sure you do your research before composting soiled litter

3. Repurpose unused litter

If you can’t find someone who can make use of your unused litter, find a new use for it instead. 

Unused wood pellet litter makes an excellent substitute for pellet fuel in a wood pellet stove. They’re often the exact same thing. Just don’t use pellet litter containing additives like baking soda. 

Unused clay litter may find a home in your garage. It does a great job of soaking up oil spills and may even help absorb oil stains on your driveway or garage floor. Just cover the spill or stain with a pile of unused clay litter overnight and let it do its thing. 

In a pinch, clay litter can add traction on ice and snow. Just keep in mind, it’s not as effective as sand or ice-melt (always use the pet-safe kind) and requires a lot of clean-up after. 

4. Dump or bury unused plant-based litter on your property

If you don’t compost (try it, it’s awesome), unused additive-free, plant-based litter can be dumped or buried on your own property to biodegrade.

It’s a bit wasteful because the litter doesn’t end up serving a purpose, but it’s better for the environment than sending it off to the landfill. 

A few things to remember:

  • Don’t dump on public property or someone else’s property.
  • Don’t dump clay litter, crystal litter, or any other litter that isn’t biodegradable. 
  • Don’t dump plant-based litter containing additives like baking soda or clumping agents. 
  • Don’t dump soiled litter. It can spread harmful pathogens to people and wildlife. 

5. Throw it out with the trash

Black cat sitting on green trash can

Whenever possible, use one of the above methods.

But if all else fails, simply send the litter off to the dump with your other trash.

Final Thoughts 

You can dispose of unused litter by giving it away to someone who can use it or by repurposing it. Unused plant-based litter with no additives can be composted, dumped, or buried on your own property. If all else fails, you can just send it off to the landfill.

About Matthew Alexander

Matthew lives in Maryland with his two cats, Puff and Pancho. He’s been caring for and fostering cats with various special needs for more than fifteen years. He hopes to pass some of the insight and knowledge that he’s gained on to the readers of Pawmore.