The most common way to dispose of wood pellet cat litter is to throw it out with the trash. But if you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly method, wood pellet litter is biodegradable and can be composted for use with ornamental plants.
Wood and pine pellet cat litter should never be flushed or dumped outside.
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Can You Flush Wood and Pine Pellet Cat Litter?
You should not flush wood or pine pellet cat litter down the toilet, or any litter for that matter. When flushed, cat waste can spread parasites and harm wildlife. Additionally, litter can clog pipes and damage plumbing, leading to costly repairs.
Cat poop sometimes contains Toxoplasma gondii, an infectious parasite. While T.gondii is usually harmless to healthy individuals, those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women (and their unborn children) are at risk.
Unfortunately, many wastewater treatment plants aren’t equipped to handle T.gondii. When flushed, the parasite can enter local waterways and harm other people, wildlife, and sea life. Sea otters and dolphins are particularly prone.
Cat poop should never be flushed.
If that’s not reason enough, flushed wood pellets and sawdust can cause serious damage to your plumbing system.
Wood pellets, even when fully dissolved, don’t break down as completely as feces or toilet paper. The accumulation of sawdust in pipes can lead to clogs, backups, and a variety of other unpleasant and expensive plumbing issues. In houses with septic tanks, the accumulation of sawdust will require you to pump your tank much more often.
Can You Dispose of Wood and Pine Pellet Litter Outside?
Soiled cat litter is trash. And, like any other trash, should not be dumped outside. Even though wood pellets are biodegradable, they must be disposed of properly — by being composted or bagged and sent to the landfill.
Dumping litter on public property or someone else’s property is illegal. Doing so on your own property poses risk to wildlife, and is also illegal in some jurisdictions.
Biodegradable cat litter takes time and the correct conditions to decompose. If the process isn’t managed, those piles of used litter will quickly become unpleasant and may contribute to the spread of T.gondii and other pathogens.
What Happens to Wood and Pine Litter in the Landfill?
Wood Pellet litter is biodegradable, but that doesn’t mean that it’s great to send to the landfill.
The process of biodegradation requires sufficient oxygen, light, and water to encourage the microbial activity that ultimately breaks down organic matter. Unfortunately, in the typical landfill garbage is packed so tightly that these conditions rarely exist. In turn, the process is greatly slowed if not stopped entirely.
In the anaerobic conditions common to landfills, even biodegradable waste can continue to exist in something very close to it’s current form for hundreds of years. Biodegradable litters are also contributing to the clogging of our landfills.
Even so, sending litter to the landfill is a much better option than dumping or flushing. But it’s far from a perfect solution.
Can Wood and Pine Pellet Cat Litter be Composted?
Yes. Like any other additive-free, biodegradable cat litter, wood pellet litter can be composted. Composting turns soiled litter into a nutrient-rich, natural fertilizer that can be used to nourish ornamental plants. It’s the most environmentally friendly way of disposing of your cat’s waste.
Composting cat litter is by far the best option for disposing of wood and pine pellet cat litter. When done correctly, it minimizes the potential spread of pathogens, recycles trash into a beneficial product, and lessens the amount of waste sent to our landfills.
While composting cat litter is great for the environment, it isn’t realistic for everyone.
It requires a decent amount of outdoor space, a relatively warm climate, and a fair amount of time to invest. But if you’re willing and able, it’s the preferred method of disposing of any biodegradable cat litter.
Just keep in mind, compost containing cat poop should only be used with ornamental plants. The process of composting doesn’t always fully eliminate pathogens. When processed incorrectly and used on or near a vegetable, herb, or fruit garden, you may be doing more harm than good.
Is wood pellet cat litter biodegradable?
Yes. Because they’re made from 100% natural wood fibers with no synthetic additives, pine and wood pellet cat litter is both biodegradable and compostable.
In the UK, can wood cat litter go in the green or brown bin?
In the UK, soiled wood cat litter should never go in the green or brown bin. Used cat litter should only be disposed of in the trash because cat feces may contain toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can sometimes survive the composting process.
Depending on the jurisdiction, different colored bins may be used for food and garden scraps. Cat waste and used litter do not apply.
Can you use wood pellet cat litter in the garden?
Cat feces may contain toxoplasma gondii, a harmful parasite that can spread when not properly disposed of. As a result, used wood pellet cat litter should not be used directly on a garden. When composted, wood pellet litter can be used to nourish ornamental plants but never fruits, vegetables, herbs, or any other edible plant.
Composting is the best method of disposing of wood and pine pellet cat litter. If that’s not something you want to or are able to do, litter should be bagged and sent to the landfill. Dumping and flushing used cat litter is not recommended.
- Carmel Area Wastewater District. (n.d.). Did You Know? Flushed Kitty Litter Harms Sea Otters. Retrieved May 28, 2021, from https://www.cawd.org/did-you-know-flushed-kitty-litter-harms-sea-otters
- Meyer-Dombard D.R., Bogner J.E., & Malas J. (2020, June 3). A Review of Landfill Microbiology and Ecology: A Call for Modernization With ‘Next Generation’ Technology. Frontiers in Microbiology. 11:1127. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2020.01127
- A Safety Warning for Composting Pet Poop. (n.d.). Michelson Found Animals. Retrieved May 30, 2021, from https://www.foundanimals.org/safety-warning-composting-pet-poop/
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.