Can You Recycle Cat Litter Boxes? Here’s The Scoop On Being Eco-Friendly With Your Feline’s Waste!

As a cat owner, I’m always looking for ways to reduce my environmental footprint. One question that often comes up is, “can you recycle cat litter boxes?” The answer isn’t as straightforward as a simple yes or no, but I’m here to guide you through the various types of cat litter boxes and how they can be recycled or disposed of in an eco-friendly manner.

Understanding the Types of Cat Litter Boxes

Disposable Cat Litter Boxes

Disposable cat litter boxes are convenient for short-term use, especially when traveling or during a move. They are typically made from recycled paper or cardboard and are designed to be used once and then thrown away. However, the recyclability of these boxes depends on whether they have been soiled by cat waste.

Biodegradable Cat Litter Boxes

Biodegradable cat litter boxes are an eco-friendly option made from materials like recycled paper, wood shavings, or other compostable materials. These boxes are designed to break down over time, reducing their impact on landfills. They can often be composted, but it’s important to check the specifics of each product.

Plastic Cat Litter Boxes

Plastic cat litter boxes are durable and can last for many years. They are not typically recyclable once they’ve been used due to contamination with cat waste. However, if you’re looking to recycle a clean, unused plastic litter box, some recycling programs may accept them.

Recycling Disposable Cat Litter Boxes

Recycling Disposable Cat Litter Boxes

Composting Options

For those of us who use disposable cat litter boxes, composting is a viable option. If the box is made from biodegradable materials and has not been exposed to plastic liners or non-organic litter, it can be added to a compost pile. Here’s how:

  • Remove all cat waste and litter before composting.
  • Break down the box into smaller pieces to speed up the composting process.
  • Ensure your compost pile has a good balance of green and brown materials.

Municipal Recycling Programs

Some municipal recycling programs accept clean, dry, and empty disposable cat litter boxes. It’s essential to check with your local recycling guidelines to see if they can be included in your curbside recycling bin. Remember, contamination with cat waste will make them non-recyclable through these programs.

Recycling Biodegradable Cat Litter Boxes

Recycling Biodegradable Cat Litter Boxes

Industrial Composting Facilities

Industrial composting facilities are equipped to handle larger volumes of compostable materials, including biodegradable cat litter boxes. These facilities can process items at higher temperatures, which is necessary for breaking down animal waste. Check if there’s a facility near you that accepts pet waste products.

Home Composting Practices

Home composting is another option for biodegradable cat litter boxes. However, it’s important to note that not all home compost systems can safely process cat waste, which can contain pathogens harmful to humans. If you’re only composting the box itself, make sure it’s free of waste and litter.

Recycling Plastic Cat Litter Boxes

Recycling Plastic Cat Litter Boxes

Preparing Plastic Boxes for Recycling

Recycling plastic cat litter boxes can be tricky. If you have a clean box that you no longer need, here’s how to prepare it for recycling:

  • Thoroughly clean the box with soap and water.
  • Remove any stickers or labels.
  • Check with your local recycling program to see if they accept this type of plastic.

Locating Appropriate Recycling Centers

Not all recycling centers accept plastic cat litter boxes, so it’s crucial to do your research. Websites like can help you find a recycling center in your area that accepts the type of plastic your litter box is made from.

Challenges in Recycling Cat Litter Boxes

Challenges in Recycling Cat Litter Boxes

Contamination Concerns

One of the biggest challenges in recycling cat litter boxes is contamination. Boxes that have been used are often soiled with cat waste, which can contain harmful bacteria and pathogens. This contamination makes them unsuitable for standard recycling processes.

Local Recycling Regulations

Recycling regulations vary widely from one municipality to another. What’s recyclable in one area may not be in another, so it’s important to be familiar with your local recycling guidelines and adjust your practices accordingly.

Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Traditional Cat Litter Boxes

Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Traditional Cat Litter Boxes

Reusable Litter Boxes

One of the most eco-friendly options is to use a reusable litter box. These boxes are made from durable materials and can be cleaned and reused for many years, reducing waste and the need for recycling.

DIY Solutions

If you’re crafty, you can create your own DIY cat litter box from upcycled materials. Old storage containers or wooden crates can be repurposed into litter boxes, which can then be recycled or composted at the end of their life.



In conclusion, whether you can recycle cat litter boxes depends on the type of box and your local recycling facilities. While disposable and biodegradable options may offer composting solutions, plastic boxes pose more of a challenge.

By understanding the different types of litter boxes and the options available for recycling or composting, we can make more informed decisions that benefit the environment. Let’s continue to explore and support eco-friendly alternatives to traditional cat litter boxes for a greener future.


  • Can kitty litter containers be recycled?

    Large plastic kitty litter buckets can be recycled as bulky rigid plastics at the drop-off locations listed below. Contact specific drop off locations before visiting to verify if they can take a specific item. They should not be included in curbside recycling.

  • How do you get rid of cat litter boxes?

    Preparing Your Cardboard Cat Litter Box for Recycling Once you’ve confirmed that your cardboard cat litter container can be recycled in your community, ensure that it is empty and then place the broken-down box into your recycling bin.

  • How do you dispose of cat litter box with litter?

    Disposing of their litter by scooping it all up in a heavy-duty garbage bag, tying it up, and throwing it away in the trash is proven to be the most effective way of getting rid of their waste while reducing the risks of exposure to certain bacteria in feline feces.

  • Can you put cat litter in the recycle bin?

    In most cases, the litter should be disposed of in the rubbish bin like any other waste – it isn’t suitable for recycling, as toxins found in cat waste can be harmful to health.