Got Cats? Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse in the Garden!


A collection of cats

There are few things more special to me than sitting in my garden at 6:30 of a morning slowly working my way through the weeds in a zen-like peace, especially on a Sunday morning while all the sane folks are still asleep. However, right now I’m here to talk to you about kitty litter—or more specifically the containers this life-with-cats necessity comes in. I heartily agree that recycling is a great way to go once you’ve used the contents. However, the genetic code of my Dutch grandfather coursing through my body urges me toward finding ways to reuse and repurpose first.

Repurposing over and over is practically like getting tools for my garden for free. I use the buckets for myriad purposes, from hauling and toting to collecting and mixing. I even have several buckets full of stones waiting patiently for a rock garden to magically appear. Okay, they’ve been waiting for a couple of years now so that’s technically more like storage but you get the idea.

The buckets can be used for tidying and carrying things from place to place and they can be used to contain things you fetch from locations at a distance. I’ve picked up composted alpaca poo, cow manure, and leaves from a local compost heap. Each of these things had their own delightful earthy odor and composition but each also helped me amend my garden to a happier, healthier state of being. I’ve also transported saplings and other wonderful gifts from friends thinning their plants.

Weeding in Process

A mandatory springtime activity for me is weeding the bank that runs the length of our property and was formerly lawn. I employ my cat litter buckets for hauling arborist chips down the hill, emptying them on my freshly weeded patches, then filling them back up with pulled weeds to tote back up the hill. I’m sure there are many other methods I could use but I like the ease of carrying this manageable weight and I like the rate at which I can work while setting a bucket next to me as I move methodically along.

12/5/2020 1:17:21 PM

I had saved more than a dozen of them with the idea that they'd come in handy sometime, and they have. When my son moved they were very useful for books and other small items. We'd load them, bring them to the new place, unload them, and fill them again. I also have one hanging outside for the kitchen scraps to go to, and when it's filled, to the compost heap. I have others that save rainwater off the house, and use it for lawn, garden, and birdbath. When the recycling center had wood chips to give away, I put as many of the containers as would fit into my hatchback and filled them with chips.

12/3/2020 5:27:04 PM

I use biodegradable cat litter that comes in cardboard boxes. No petrochemical products were used to produce the containers, which are fully recyclable after use. The used cat litter is 95% of the trash generated at my house. somehow, I think my approach is a little more earth-friendly than accumulating a load of plastic buckets! I also use stale water from the cats' drinking bowls to water houseplants.

12/3/2020 4:36:27 PM

I've also have seen people using the empty buckets on their sides attached to the walls of a chicken coop. Removing the larger part of the lid, but leaving the smaller part on they make perfect nesting nooks. The smaller part of the lid will hold in the straw. I had not seen this or I would have done that instead, I used orange Homer buckets.

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