What characterizes a sustainable cat litter?
Do you want to make your feline household more sustainable, but don’t know how? A good starting point is your cat litter. We explain here what makes a cat litter sustainable and what you should look out for when buying it.
The cat: Europe’s most popular pet
According to a Statista survey, cats are Europe’s most popular pet. In Germany alone, there were 15.7 million pet cats in 2020, and this trend is on the rise. Several million felines like a cleaner cat toilet. To ensure that they feel comfortable, the litter must be changed at regular intervals; that creates a significant amount of refuse.
Bentonite cat litter
Bentonite litter or mineral litter is extremely popular with cat owners. It absorbs many times its own weight in liquid and neutralises the odour of urine – and avoiding odours is an important factor.
What many people are unaware of, however, is that bentonite is a mineral extracted by mining. It is formed by the weathering of volcanic ash and is not a renewable resource. Extracting the raw material causes the destruction of entire regions, with the used bentonite litter ultimately ending up in incineration plants. The slag resulting from incineration eventually goes to landfill. Surely there must be an alternative to this?
Cat litter from renewable resources
Yes, there is: plant-based cat litter. This is produced from wood or plant fibres and is just as good at securely trapping odours. The raw material for COSYCAT organic cat litter is wood obtained from sustainably managed forests, meaning that COSYCAT is PEFC-certified. It proves that only a renewable quantity of timber is removed from the forest. Not a single tree is felled to produce our cat litter, however, because we use wood fibres, a secondary raw material. These are generated when the timber is processed.
What to look for when buying cat litter
The sustainability of a cat litter can be recognised by certain criteria. Here you can see what these are:
1. What raw material is the litter made of?
If you are seeking a sustainable cat litter, the first question arising relates to the material from which it is manufactured. If it is a renewable resource like wood, it can be ensured by sustainable forest management that the raw material will be available to future generations also.
2. Where do the raw materials originate?
Sustainable cat litter utilises indigenous resources and is transported over short distances, thereby reducing CO2 emissions. For COSYCAT we use PEFC-certified wood fibres from regional forest management. These are not only environmentally friendly, but also weigh little, which is advantageous for the ecological footprint. The lighter the litter, the less impact its transportation has on the climate. You also benefit from this, because its low weight makes it easier to handle when shopping and when filling the cat toilet.
3. How economical is the litter?
Non-clumping litter normally has to be changed once per week, otherwise the toilet will develop an unpleasant odour. If clumping litter is used, on the other hand, the toilet only needs to be cleaned completely every few weeks. This increases sustainability. COSYCAT, our organic wood-based clumping litter, is effective for around 6 to 8 weeks. Only then does the residual litter need to be disposed of and the cat toilet cleaned completely. This is because the wood fibres are highly absorbent; just a few fibres are sufficient to absorb the urine and safely trap the odour. Clumping litter is thus generally more economical than non-clumping litter, resulting in a reduction in refuse.
4. Does the cat litter contain chemical additives?
Sustainable litter should not contain any chemical additives. The more natural the product, the better. This is why our COSYCAT litter is produced from natural wood fibres. Fragrances are also taboo. They are unnecessary because the wood fibres naturally exude a pleasant smell of timber.
5. How eco-friendly is disposal?
The differences between the various litter types become particularly clear when it comes to disposal. Plant-based litter is biodegradable. It can be disposed of with organic waste and even composted, provided the faeces and urine have been removed. Composting completes the product cycle, with the litter ultimately being returned to nature as compost. Our article Which cat litter is compostable? explains why disposal with organic refuse is not permitted in every region and what you should bear in mind when composting litter.
Single urine clumps of plant-based cat litter can even be flushed down the toilet. It depends on the correct procedure. You should never do this with bentonite litter because it contains clay, which can block the drainpipes. Bentonite litter must never be disposed of with organic waste or on the compost heap. It goes into residual waste and ultimately to landfill.
By contrast, plant-based litter like COSYCAT can be put into residual refuse with a clear conscience, because the ecological litter is 100% incinerated. No waste gas or slag is generated.
Many good reasons for choosing sustainable cat litter
Plant-based cat litter is sustainable because it conserves natural resources and is harmless for the environment and the climate.
Sustainability is achieved due to the following factors:
- renewable resources
- good clumping properties
- less waste
- eco-friendly disposal
- natural product cycle
- short transport routes
- little weight
- high efficiency
- economical in use
- low carbon footprint
- eco-friendly packaging
Is sustainability important to you when it comes to your cat also? If so, then you should opt for plant-based cat litter. It is environmentally compatible and offers benefits for both human and pet. If you would like to switch to a sustainable cat litter, take a look at our tips on switching cat litter.
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