4 December 2011

Step Down Sunday - Eco-friendly Cats

Step Down Sunday One big contributor to your carbon footprint is your pets. Much of it comes from their high meat diets, but there are still things we can change.

We started by looking at the cats’ litter tray.  Since Mac had his stroke he’s had trouble getting through the door of our covered litter tray.  For the moment we’ve removed the cover, but the litter is being kicked everywhere. The tray is about 10 years old, so we decided it was reasonable to get a replacement.

After a bit of searching we found the BecoTray – an eco-friendly litter tray.  They take bamboo and leftover rice husks and grind them into a fine powder. The powder is then mixed with a biodegradable resin and pressed into a hot mould. This makes the BecoTray sustainable to produce and when in a warm damp environment  (like a compost heap or when buried in the ground) the tray biodegrades in just 2-3 years. The result feels something like Bakelite - heavy & strong but it doesn't have the flexibility of plastic.

Beco Cat Litter Tray

We did have some problems with the first tray they sent out, as the pieces wouldn’t fit together. There was then some confusion with the delivery company who were suppose to collect the old tray and deliver our new one, but Brands by Nature also sent us a Beco Litter Scoop for our trouble.

So now we have our eco-tray, we started looking at the litter itself. Though a natural material, the clay for clumping litters is often produced by strip mining, which is considered an environmentally degrading process. But there are a few eco-friendly cat litters available that use recycled paper, wood pellets or vegetable matter. In the end our decision was partially influenced by where we could buy the litter from. We found most of the eco-friendly litters were available online, rather than in high street shops. So instead of paying for shipping every few months, we decided the cat litter could help us qualify for free delivery from Ocado (but more on Ocado another week).

We finally chose Natural & Clean Cat Litter, which is 100% biodegradable, flushable and compostable. It’s made from depleted barley (after the edible part has been removed) and is natural and sustainable.  It also has a patented odour control formula that uses natural ingredients. We're still using a 50-50 mix of the new litter and our old litter while the cats get used to it, but so far we're quite happy with it.

Now we just have to figure out if we're allowed to add the used litter to our green bin for composting!

Can you make any eco-friendly changes on behalf of your pets?

If you'd like the code for the Step Down Sunday badge or to learn more about it, go to the Step Down Sunday page.