It is estimated that there is approximately 4.5 million licensed cats in Canada, with many households owning multiple pets.
Most cats become a part of the family. These furry companions bring us much love, but just like dogs, bring us many hours of cleaning up after them. Now, unlike a dog, our cats are neat and tidy by “doing their business” in a purchased plastic box filled with clay litter.
In many urban communities, municipal by-laws are in place to deter owners from letting their cats wander (and do their business) outside, unattended. Therefore, pet litter becomes essential for your cat’s every day needs.
In Halton Region, any pet waste, including pet litter, cannot go in your GreenCart. Halton’s GreenCart material is sent to the City of Hamilton’s Central Composting Facility, which is an indoor aerobic facility that breaks down your food waste in 21 days. Accepting materials like pet waste could drastically change Halton Region’s final compost. Pet waste and pet litter has unwanted pathogens that results in lower grade compost The grading of composting is set by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. Lower grade compost becomes more difficult to market because its end use is limited. Here in Halton Region, our GreenCart material is turned into grade AA compost that is used on farmer’s fields, acting as a natural fertilizer.
Therefore, residents must place their pet litter in the garbage. Depending on the number of cats in your home, clean up of the pet litter may consist of a small bag, to potentially multiple bags.
Clay cat litter can make your garbage bags quite heavy. Be sure to clean your litter boxes multiple times throughout the week, and don’t put all the litter into just one garbage bag. Halton Regional has a maximum garbage bag/can weight limit of 50 lbs (23 kg). So when disposing your cat litter, try to disperse it between multiple bags. There is now a 3 garbage bag/can limit; ensure you place your cat litter among the 3 bags, not all in one, to avoid heavy bags that might not be collected.
Also, if using clay cat litter, ensure you are using a clumping litter. Clumping litter reduces how much litter your throw out each week, which will reduce your overall garbage. After cleaning out the clumped litter, the remaining litter can last around 3 months before an entire clean out is required.
There are other cat litters on the market that are lighter and more manageable for your garbage, such as litter made from recycled paper, wooden pellets, compost, etc. Though these litters still go in the garbage, they are much lighter and won’t greatly affect the total weight of your garbage.
Some people are willing to go that extra mile and put cat litter in their backyard composter. This compost will act as a natural fertilizer and help keep moisture in your soil. You can use this compost on your yard, however any compost with animal waste in it should not be used for vegetable gardens. Do not try to compost clay cat litter, you will find this material is very hard to break down and increases the clay content in your soil. But remember, no cat litter in the GreenCart.
With proper care, cats and other pets are great additions to any family. With some additional attention, we can better manage the waste they produce.