How to cleanly dispose of dirty litter
September 14, 2020 7:16 PM   Subscribe

What is an efficient, mostly clean way to dispose of quite a few pounds of used cat litter?

Unfortunately I have been putting my cat's litter boxes out on my balcony after emptying them of cat detritus... But not litter. As such I have 5 boxes with about 5lbs of litter in each of them. There are thankfully no bugs or anything in them -- it's just a lot of litter.

In the past I have poured the contents of each box into a doubled up black trash bag and put it all in my complex's dumpsters. However, this time I have many more boxes to ditch and much more litter to deal with. It gets heavy real fast.

How should I approach this so that I am a) disposing of the litter in a trash truck friendly way, and b) not overwhelming myself with heavy bags?

Also, everything is covered in soot because of the fires. I will wear a mask and gloves to do this dirty job. And yes, I know this is not a good thing. It's just stressful and my balcony is right there.
posted by Kitchen Witch to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The only way I know to dispose of litter is to bag it and put it out with the regular garbage. We use double bagged grocery store bags filled to 1/2-2/3 full. Yes it's heavy but still manageable. You might put the bags in a bucket or something that makes it easier to carry.
posted by countrymod at 7:33 PM on September 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I have never considered using a bucket, oh my God
posted by Kitchen Witch at 7:38 PM on September 14, 2020 [9 favorites]

Just break it down into smaller jobs -- like, once a day fill a black garbage bag with a reasonable, not too heavy amount. Take it down to your dumpster. Repeat the next day, or a few days later, until the backlog is gone. Then move forward the the commitment to take it down after each litter box change so you don't end up with a massive amount.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:02 PM on September 14, 2020 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Home improvement stores carry a few bucket sizes. The 2 gallon size you can purchase a lid for and isn't terrible to carry full of litter. A 5 gallon bucket will be waaaay too heavy if full.

We had the occasion to store used cat litter (due to radioactive iodine treatment) for way too long. A big bucket will greatly reduce odor. If you need to store used litter on the balcony for reasons I recommend bagging and then keeping in a bucket. Then use a bucket to carry to the trash because the bucket is easier to carry than a bag and there is less risk of a cat litter stuffed bag breaking if the bag isn't strained in transit to trash.

You could also throw out the bucket if needed but a bucket is a reusable thing.

Also hey cat litter builds up. You don't have to deal with it all in one day. And I just told you I hoarded radioactive cat poop in a bucket. Cat people all over throw out bags of litter all the time. Shit happens. Don't stress.
posted by countrymod at 8:05 PM on September 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

I put a bag in an empty cat litter bucket. I try reuse paper bags from takeout, but I'll use a regular plastic garbage bag too. When full, or on garbage pickup day, I take entire bucket to the dumpster, throw the bag in, take emptied bucket back inside.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:34 AM on September 15, 2020

Please don't feel bad about this, pandemic + smoke is enough reason to get overwhelmed by maintenance tasks like this. As for trash truck friendliness-- 5 boxes of 5lbs each seems like a lot for a single apartment, but if you're in an apartment complex that allows pets, I promise this is not a significant or difficult or even abnormal amount of kitty litter for a trash truck to have to deal with. Double bag it so it won't explode and you're good to go. Take it down in 5 trips at 2am or whatever time you feel comfortable taking a bunch of trips to the dumpster. You'll feel so much better when this is off your balcony, and I promise it isn't going to be a disservice to the trash collector or their equipment. They'll be dealing with a lot more kitty litter that week, that day, that morning, than you'll be putting out.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 6:02 AM on September 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

What does your kitty litter come in? Heavy weight cardboard box? Super heavy plastic bag? Bucket?

Whatever it is, half your used kitty litter can go back out the same containers, possibly with an inner bag to make them leak proof.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:10 AM on September 15, 2020

If it is going into an actual dumpster (the metal kind that the truck picks up and dumps inside), don't worry about weight (other than being careful not to carry more than your body will allow in a day). Just take it down in bags or buckets at whatever speed works for you until it is gone.

If it is going into a small trashcan that someone has to pick up to move around, then yes, be more careful about weight -- one or two bags of litter into a small can is fine, but don't fill the whole thing up.

But in both cases, there's nothing wrong with doing this at a measured speed (like, one bag/bucket of litter per day, or every other day, or any other schedule you prefer). It took a while to accumulate and it sounds like it might take a little while to throw away, that is fine.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:33 AM on September 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Nthing everyone else - you don't need to do this all at once. Multiple trips, partially full double bagged bags, and all will be well.

Don't try and carry more than you can safely carry. Over the last 10 years of carrying heavy litter buckets I should not have been attempting and therefore dropped multiple times I've broken 2 toes and have lost a toenail. I do not learn apparently. Don't be me.
posted by cgg at 7:23 AM on September 15, 2020

want to second moonlight on vermont: please don't feel bad about this, it's a great step towards feeling better about a surprising number of things!! It's fantastic that you're at this point.

In terms of ease of management for the sanitary workers: absolutely double bag, and keep the bags filled lighter rather than heavier (for you, too).

Other misc suggestions:

If you're in a whimsical DIY mood, and your apartment isn't too high up, you could rig up a rope and pulley on the balcony railing and get a buddy to unload at street level.

If you have an elevator (or a buddy who can handle stairs with you), you may be able to rent a small wheelbarrow to transport lots of small bags at once.
posted by snerson at 9:50 AM on September 16, 2020

Response by poster: Thank you for all the suggestions and kind words. I have been feeling very embarrassed by this for a while but I feel much better now that I know it's not just me who punts litter disposal to faraway days.

As I legitimately had never considered using a bucket to haul litter to and from my apartment to the dumpster downstairs, that's going to be the first thing I try. Litter goes in bucket, I bring doubled up trash bags with me down to the dumpster, the litter goes in the bags, then the bag goes into the dumpster. Rinse, repeat. I already have a bucket from my last litter purchase, too!

Thank you thank you!
posted by Kitchen Witch at 2:45 PM on September 18, 2020

Best answer: Litter goes in bucket, I bring doubled up trash bags with me down to the dumpster, the litter goes in the bags, then the bag goes into the dumpster.

Even easier might be lining the bucket with a bag before putting the litter in the bucket, that way you don't need to try and pour litter into a bag down by the dumpster.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:14 PM on September 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What about litter goes in bags, bags go in bucket? That way if you spill getting it in the bags you are only cleaning up your balcony and not a shared space by the dumpster.
posted by cgg at 2:52 PM on September 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: You all are the best, thank you for these improvements
posted by Kitchen Witch at 10:51 PM on September 23, 2020

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