How can I reuse or recycle kitty litter containers?

Cat litter containerWe’ve had an email from Ashley Sue, asking:

What is a good sustainable use of 40 lb plastic empty kitty litter containers? I’ve got a bunch of them. not recyclable in our area :(

We get our cat litter in paper sacks so I’m not quite sure whether Ashley Sue means bucket-like tubs like this one or jug-style containers like these. The link on the former already give one potential re-use — for growing veg — and we’ve got a few of the latter type that originally held dry cat food which we use for other cat-related purposes – either mixing up two flavours of dry cat food to dilute one they don’t particularly like, for holding litter when the paper bag splits or if a bulk-bought sack of food/litter needs decanting so the smaller member of our household (ie me) can lift it. I’m sure a well-washed out litter jug could be used for all these things too.

Any other (cat or non-cat) suggestions though?

(Oh, and if you’re interested, we’ve already covered recycling/composting the litter itself. Also, can I just say how delighted I am that it’s spring and the cats are leaving the house for the first time in months – it’s been a long, long poopy winter.)

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21 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle kitty litter containers?”


  1. Mary says:

    We put the ice melt crystals in one–easy to shake out onto icy areas. I buy litter in paper bags and “decant” it into the old plastic litter containers.

  2. Bobbie says:

    I use the jugs to age water for my fish aquarium. I also repackage dry foods that I purchase in bulk which fit into my pantry nicely.

    I use the pails to store dry foods, taping the lid shut. I make my own laundry soap and use the pails to store the soap in. We use the pails outside for carrying liquids and storing stuff. They are very handy when we care for baby chicks.

    The only down side to any of this is there is a limit to the amount of jugs/pails one can use. I freecycle the rest.

  3. Ashley Sue says:

    This actually is for my friend Dave who asked me what to do with them, and I am forever grateful for all neat suggestions. :) Thank you, guys.

  4. Dave says:

    Thanks to Ashley Sue for forwarding my question, and thanks to all for the suggestions. I was asking specifically about litter pails, but all the suggestions are great!

  5. Chile says:

    A friend with cats gives me her litter pails. Current uses:
    - planter in back yard
    - collect water as shower heats up (used to flush toilet)
    - collect and haul greywater
    - soak stained clothes
    - mop bucket
    - collect cloth wipes used for #1 (TMI?)

    I’ve donated some to my CSA which uses them to collect all the veggie debris (root veggies shed their leaves all over the place) for folks to take home to their chickens.

    I do not use these for food storage due to the stinky fragrance used in the kitty litter. For food, I use food grade buckets for free from bakeries. It’s a pain to clean out the leftover frosting, but they’re free.

  6. WeeDram says:

    I am a photographer using “real” cameras, i.e., film ;) and I process my own b&w film. Instead of using municipal water, I collect the distillate from dehumidifiers, as we live in a somewhat humid area.

    This provides me with something close to distilled water, but nearly free. After thoroughly cleaning the plastic jug cat litter containers, I store my water in them.

  7. shirley says:

    I use mine for garden supplies…one holds grass seed…some have winter salt in them ready for the next freeze…and yes distilled water from the dehumidifier for the plants…compost tea…my mix of hot pepper spray…large batch of homemade cleaner…just to name a few

  8. carrie says:

    you could fill with white vinegar and old washcloths – instant window wipes!

  9. Brian says:

    you could use them for container gardening. They are perfect for limiting herbs that spread out.

  10. tyler says:

    put them at the bottom of your storm drains and collect rain water for watering plants and etc.

  11. diana says:

    cut the bottom off and set it over young tomato or pepper plants to protect them from frost.

  12. Amanda says:

    Cut the bottom off, and use it as a scoop. I actually use one as my “pooper scooper” for dog doody in the yard….

  13. Bobbie says:

    I use the pails in the chicken coop for feeding and watering the chickens. I also make my own laundry soap and store it in the pails.

  14. If the original posts meant the trays you put the kitty litter into you could clean it thoroughly then use it for marbling paper in the shallow low tray (oil paints and water) Just bought some fantastic marbled wrapping paper in the YMCA SHOP IN BIRKENHEAD, Merseyside UK and it reminded me.

  15. andrea says:

    These are great ideas for reuse but how or can I recycle a plastic cat litter container. The container has a #5 recycle emblem on the bottom.

  16. Dianne says:

    We have a number of the tall plastic litter containers. We do not have gutters on our house so on the back side of the house we line the containers up under the eaves of the house to catch the rainwater to use in our garden.

    This year I am trying to use some of the green containers (they are not as tall as the whtie ones) as “topsy turvy” tomato containers. I am also going to try to make “mini” compost tumblers out of them.

  17. james says:

    I recycle cat litter — crestal type — remove the solids — put it in a 5 gal. bucket with holes in the bottom, rinse 3 times compleatly, spread it out and spray on bleach, let it dry and reuse. Crestals will get smaller as you go along but will get at least 4 uses.
    Not cheap just a challange

  18. Ron says:

    Turned on their side, they make a good wetherproof birdhouse.
    Of course, wastebaskets and buckets.
    Paint buckets that can be thrown away rather than cleaned. Cut the large flat sides off and use them as paint trim blocks when painting with a brush against a baseboard or where wall meets ceiling.
    Cut flat peices off the sides and use them as spatulas for spreading spackle or car putty.
    Cut off tops and use as recycle containers [we have four in the kitchen] for soft drink bottles, etc. until you have enough to put in your garage large recycle container.
    As a water jug, kept near the barbecue for fire safety.
    With tops cut off, make GREAT under-sink organizers for cleaning supplies.
    With tops cut off, they perfectly hold magazines for storage.
    With tops cut off, a few in car trunk to hold tools, miscel. items–keeps items from rolling around.

  19. Bobbie says:

    I make my own laundry soap and store the soap in a nice kitty litter bucket :)

  20. Sue says:

    I drill holes in the lids of my kitty litter jugs and use them as watering jugs for my flower gardens.



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