Are cat litter boxes recyclable? Things I Wish I Learned Earlier

By Davis Wilkins •  Updated: 03/11/23 •  8 min read
The globe going green due to recycling waste

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Cat litter boxes are made from a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, and cardboard.

However, the most common material in cat litter boxes is plastic.

Many people assume that cat litter boxes are recyclable, but this is not always the case.

The majority of plastic parts in your litter box, including the inner lining and casters, are not recyclable.

The main issue with recycling cat litter boxes is that they are not designed to be recycled.

The plastic cat litter box is made of polypropylene (PP) which is a petroleum-derived plastic.

The PP used to make the polypropylene cat litter boxes can however be recycled in some places.

PP, which is commonly used in food and cosmetic packaging, is not biodegradable, so it will be around for a long time.

Some recycling centers have an all-PP container that they can recycle because it’s easier to separate than other plastics but this doesn’t mean it’s environmentally friendly.

Cat litter boxes are typically made from plastic or paperboard, which cannot be recycled at most facilities because they don’t fit in standard recycling bins or shredding machines.

The best way to recycle your cat’s litter box is by donating it to a local animal shelter or rescue group that will use it as part of their animal enrichment program or as part of their pet supply donations.

You can also contact your local municipal waste management department and ask if they offer free drop-offs or pick-ups for recycling pet waste materials.

If you have a metal litter box, the majority of the materials used to make it (including the metal frame) can be recycled.

However, some plastic parts in metal litter boxes cannot be recycled and may end up in landfills.

Can I recycle a plastic litter box?

Absolutely! You can recycle a plastic litter box.

The easiest way to recycle your plastic litter box is to take it to your local recycling center or drop-off site.

Contact your local recycling program and they will guide you.

If you do not have one, most cities have one that is available for residents to use.

Most of these programs will take plastic litter boxes for recycling, but some do not.

If your city does not have a recycling program for plastic litter boxes, then you can bring your litter box to a local business that will recycle them for you.

You may want to check with the business first to see if they accept plastic litter boxes before bringing them in.

Most recycling facilities will accept plastic items if they’ve been cleaned, but some may ask for a special fee for cleaning and melting the item down into a reusable form.

You can also call around and see if any businesses in your area take them as well.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of taking your used litter box to a recycling center, or you do not live near any of the businesses listed above, there are other options:

Some online services will recycle your plastic litter boxes for free or at a reduced cost.

You can use an online service that allows people without access to recycling centers or drop-off sites to bring their plastic goods directly to a central location where they can be recycled or reused as needed.

Can cat litter containers be recycled?

The answer is yes, but it depends on the container.

Some types of cat litter containers are recyclable, while others aren’t.

It’s not as simple as tossing them in the recycling bin.

You have to make sure that the container is clean and dry before recycling it.

You also need to check the manufacturer’s packaging to see what material they use for the container.

If they are using plastic and paper, then you can recycle them by putting them in your regular recycling bin.

If you find that your cat litter container is made from a material other than plastic or paper and has some kind of label on it, then you’ll need to take it back to your local store for recycling.

The store will take care of it for you since they have recycling facilities and machinery designed specifically for separating all types of recyclables from everything else thrown away.

Piece of paper written reuse of materials

How do you dispose of a cat litter box?

Make sure it’s completely dry before trashing it.

Place the old cat litter box into a large garbage bag before disposing it at your local dumpster or recycling bin.

Place the bag in a trash can or bin outside and close the lid tightly.

This way, you will not have to worry about getting your hands dirty when disposing of it and you can also reuse it for other purposes.

If you have a large litter box and need to dispose of it, rinse off all the litter and place it in a plastic bag.

If you have a small litter box, use paper towels or newspaper to wipe out any remaining moisture from inside the box before placing it outside for pickup by a sanitation company.

If you don’t have a trash can big enough to accommodate the box, place it in an outside container.

It is important to dispose of your cat litter box in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

Some people do not want to throw away their old cat litter boxes because they think that they can be reused for other purposes like using them as outdoor toys or flower pots, etc.

The best way to recycle your cat’s litter box is by donating it to a local animal shelter or rescue group that will use it as part of their animal enrichment program or as part of their pet supply donations.

You can also contact your local municipal waste management department and ask if they offer free drop-offs or pick-ups for recycling pet waste materials.

What to do with old plastic litter boxes

The first thing to do with an old plastic litter box is to clean it.

You may want to use a mild detergent and a soft brush or sponge.

Apply the detergent generously. Rinse well and let dry.

There are many things you can do with old plastic litter boxes:

  1. Reuse them:

If you want to save money, recycle your old plastic litter boxes by taking them apart piece by piece and reusing the parts for something else.

You can also reuse the box itself in another situation (like a storage bin).

  1. Make a cat cave:

If you have an extra plastic box lying around and don’t know what to do with it, why not turn it into your cat’s retreat?

By cutting holes in the sides of the box, you can create a hideaway where your cat can curl up and relax when they feel like resting.

You could even make this into a more permanent addition to your home if you wanted!

  1. Use as a winter shelter:

If your cat likes to go outside during the winter months, this will be the perfect solution for keeping them warm and dry on cold days without having to worry about them getting wet when it rains or snows outside.

 Just drill holes in each corner and place some rocks inside to weigh down against any wind gusts!

  1. Donate them:

Give them out to an animal shelter.

  1. Take them to a recycling center:

Drop them at a recycling center to be recycled.

  1. Use as a produce storage container:

If you are wondering what to do with cat litter buckets, you can use the top as a lid for your produce storage container.

 If you have multiple containers and you want to keep track of each one, this is the perfect way to do it.

  1. Make a plant stand:

You can also make an easy plant stand using an old plastic litter box as the base and some twine or rope as the legs.

This is a great way to keep plants off the ground and out of the reach of your cat!

  1. Use as a craft project container:

If you have an old plastic litter box lying around, you can use it as part of a craft project!

Cut holes in the sides and decorate them with paint or markers if you want one-of-a-kind pieces that will last season after season!

  1. Plastic litter boxes can also be used as toys for your cats:

You can cut them up into pieces, paint them different colors, or cover them in yarn or string.


While it’s great for the environment to recycle, you’ll have to dig a bit deeper to get the final answer suitable for you.

Depending on where you live, most recycling centers are designed for recyclables from homes.

It may also be possible to recycle some pieces of the litter box separately, but that will depend on your specific location and what’s accepted by your local recycling companies.

Check with them for more information.

If you don’t have access to a recycling center, are you willing to use an online service?

Davis Wilkins

Davis Wilkins is a dedicated cat lover, with three cats under his care. He grew up in a cat-loving family, nurturing these feline friends. As a result, he purposed to share his cat knowledge with the universe. Wilkins has been writing professionally for over four years, specializing in feline care with a keen interest in litter box care and handling. He hopes to help other feline lovers achieve their pet care goals.

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