The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

November 25, 2008

Saying Good-bye to Plastic-Free Cat Litter… Again!

Arya loves SwheatScoop cat litter. She loves to rip open the bag, spread the litter across the kitchen floor, and then lie in it and take a nap. Why confine such an awesome substance to her litter box?

Soots on the other hand, will have almost nothing to do with it. To avoid grossing you out, I provide the following black and white representation of what Soots thinks of SwheatScoop:

I wanted to love Swheatscoop natural clumping, flushable cat litter. I really did. Especially because it’s the only flushable* litter that comes in a paper bag rather than plastic. [2016 update:  Swheatscoop has switched to a plastic bag.  We now use Integrity cat litter instead.] Even the boxed litters have plastic bags inside.

*For those who weren’t here for the beginning of the cat litter story, we feel comfortable flushing their poop because they are indoor cats that have tested negative for toxoplasma gondii, the parasite that kills sea otters.

We tried to love it last year and failed, switching instead to World’s Best Cat Litter — corn in a plastic bag — and writing a letter to the company asking for different packaging in order to assuage our (my) guilt.

Looks like I’ll be following up with them soon to see how they’re coming on that packaging problem because we just can’t have Soots pooping on the floor every day. Not to mention, the SwheatScoop does not absorb odors or clump nearly as well as the World’s Best.

And yes, this post was an excuse to show you photos of bad Arya being so totally cute that all I could do was laugh as I swept up her mess on Sunday… laugh, cough, sweep, laugh, cough, sweep…

But I really will write back to World’s Best Cat Litter. Not going to start a major campaign any time soon, but maybe those who wrote before want to join me in following up?

Here’s the contact info:

GPC Pet Products
1600 Oregon Street
Muscatine , IA 52761

Email contact form:

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I only post ads for products I use myself. Your support helps to fund my plastic-free mission.

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7 years ago

My cat’s name is Arya too :)

9 years ago is a really awesome cat litter. It’s made from recycled paper and comes in a paper bag. It’s cheap and even though it does not clump, it is really easy to deal with.

Diane W
9 years ago

Hi Beth, I love your blog and website! I read Plastic Ocean last summer and have been altering my lifestyle bit by bit. A few months ago I switched to YESTERDAY’S NEWS cat litter, made from recycled paper and the best part is that it comes in a paper bag. I have discovered that disposing of the litter in a regular paper grocery bag works just fine, and of course you can use the Yesterday’s News bag when it is empty too.
I tie the paper bag up with cheap twine, wrapped around the bottom of the bag and tied at the top, and it goes in the trash.
The solid waste is a problem I have not solved yet. It currently goes into a small plastic bag and into the trash, but I probably should try flushing it (also a healthy indoor cat).
Thanks so much!

11 years ago

I know this is a really old post, but I use Arm & Hammer litter in a cardboard box and it has no plastic bag inside.

13 years ago

And I had been all set when I came here today on suggesting that you host a writing campaign. Maybe we get Credo to do it, but it seems to be a bit under their radar.

You’d think that since this company is dealing with so much corn, they’d at least start using corn-based plastic. I know, that has problems and issues, too, but it’s a start. At this point I’d settle for recyclable plastic. Since we’re in SF, we have some outlets for it, but not the current kind.

FYI, there’s a rebate for this stuff right now, but it’s the smaller size. Unfortunately, we could use the money right now…

Keep up the good work, lady!


14 years ago

Hi Beth,
Love your blog. I started reading it regularly about a month ago and am trying hard to reduce my use of plastic. I took tote bags with me to the mall to Christmas shop and they are more comfortable to tote than the plastic ones they give you.

Just wanted to let you know that I emailed GPC asking them to change their packaging. Thanks again for all the great advice and for sharing your trial and error stories as you become plastic-free.

14 years ago

I just wrote them an email!

14 years ago

We tried the pine stuff that looked like broken pencils. The cats hated it. They like the corn cob stuff.

A Slice of the Pie
14 years ago

Why are kitties so cute when they are being naughty?

I currently have two cats and they didn’t like the swheatscoop. I have one old cat who is quite content using the beds or piles of laundry. Makes me wonder if I should put fabric in her litter box.

Also I loved your tasteful graphic to spare us the EW factor!

14 years ago

Sorry your cat doesn’t like SwheatSchoop. Mine loves hers and she hardly ever tracks it.

I think another option would be to go to a farm supply store and buy farm animal litter. It would be a bit cheaper and you might find some plastic-free choices.

Lara S.
14 years ago

This looks like quite a lot of work, but it would be worth it… :-)

Please consider it!

Lara S.

14 years ago

I just wanted to let you know that a fast food chain local to me, Burgerville (39 locations in Oregon and Washington), has started “going green.” They have replaced all of their lids, straws, cups, etc with corn-based products and put composters into half of their units (and are working on the other half). Also, all of the food has always been local and they purchase wind credits equal to 100% of their energy consumption. Interesting, huh?

They are not completely plastic-free yet, but I think this effort is note-worthy regardless.

14 years ago

I love reading posts about disposing of cat litter because it’s just one of those things that there’s no perfect answer for. You have to make the best choice for you.
I did wonder, after reading the statement from the previous post, if its possible that cats could get TP from mice in the house, or other unknowns?

Lara S.
14 years ago

Hi again Beth!
I read somewhere that you can actually teach the cats to pee/poop in the toilet! Sounds weird but I think it it IS possible!! =)

Lara S.

14 years ago

I’m in – never heard anything back from my last round of e-mail so left this on the site:

Hi – I’m a pretty big fan of your product – but I have had about 3 bags in 2008 that didn’t perform very well – the litter was very powdery and my cats would come out of the box all covered with dust. I wrote earlier this year – and had a brief exchange, offer of a coupon and request for my address, which I provided but I never heard anything back after that — perhaps it was because I asked if you guys were going to switch to non-plastic packaging?

I’ll be happy to send along the previous e-mail thread – and look forward to your response on a more eco-friendly packaging. The bags are *not* recyclable in Oakland – the garbage management company will not take plastic bags of any sort. If I could return the bags to the pet store to be shipped to you or some other recycler, that would at least make me feel better.

14 years ago

That joke was, ah, memorable (gack). Anyways, wanted to say I thought of you when I bought frozen artichoke hearts in a box, instead of the more cost effective bag. Only to open them up and see – ack! Plastic bags. So totally didn’t use to be that way. Sigh. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

Small Footprints
14 years ago

Hi! Your site was recommended to me by Argentum Vulgaris at Tomus Arcanum ( It’s great … you have a lot of important information here.

I hope you don’t mind if I add you to my blog roll as well as follow you.

BTW … love the pictures of your cats!

Thank you for sharing all of this with us!

Small Footprints

Condo Blues
14 years ago

One of my readers told me that she uses the Doggie Dooley to compost her cat’s poo and litter. However, if you live in an area with heavy clay soils or have french drains that drain into your city’s sewer system this may not be an option for you.

PS: Nice mess Arya! You look very cute making it too.

Crunchy Chicken
14 years ago

See? You can’t get that joke out of your twisted mind, can you?

Alline Anderson
14 years ago

I guess we got lucky – our cat seems quite content with Swheat Scoop. We add generous amounts of baking soda (bought in bulk) to make it last a bit longer. I’m looking at trying to find a way/place (away from my veggie garden) to bury it so that it can decompose rather than land-filling it every two weeks… Thanks for the conversation – and I LOVE the photos!

14 years ago

That is too funny. I could totally see my cats doing that. We also tried Swheat Scoop, but the cats didnt’t like it so much (they even opened the bucket I stored it in and peed in there just the ruin the rest of the batch).

I’ll have to give the other cat litter you recommend.

I read on one website a lady uses sand for her litter box and when she mixed baking soda with it it’s great, haven’t tried it yet.

I did try to make my own once from newspaper (cat’s HATED it) and it was way too much work! Here are the instructions

14 years ago

My 20 year old cat died this summer, but I went through a bunch of litter arrangements in her long life. Mostly I used cedar chips. I had guinea pigs, so I used to buy giant bails of cedar chips – but in plastic. I wasn't aware of the plastic crisis 10-20 years ago, I just consumed very little and shopped bulk at my co op. Then I tried clay that I bought bulk after the guinea pigs passed on. I used wheat stuff. My cat got so old that she missed the box nearly all of the time, even though I bought a very low profile box and so we shifted to the great outdoors being the cat box.

I love the idea of the reused clay. I guess that I couldn't have done that since I grow food on all of my use-able land, but it is admirable. The best plastic-free solution I can think of is buying litter in bulk from a pet store. I used to get the plastic jugs from someone else's recycle bin to keep bulk food and litter in. Even the raccoons had trouble getting into those. Maybe there's a bulk option near you?

Love & RRRevolution, Tracey

14 years ago

We buy a kind that of course I can’t remember the name of, but it is in a yellow box and has Naturals in the name. It does come with a plastic bag (inside the cardboard box that we recycle), but as we are not quite so plastic free as you, we use that bag to line our cat poop trash bin, and since we have 3 cats, I feel like that plastic gets pretty well used before it goes to the landfill. I really like the litter because it is not perfumed and not too dusty, and it is also pretty cheap (we get it at Costco). We hang clothes in the basement where the box is, so the dust is a big issue for me, also because we have the kids involved in the sweep/scoop process and I don’t want them or us to be breathing in cat litter dust.

Beth Terry
14 years ago

Apparently, I don’t know how to spell it either, as I spelled it two different ways in my post and then just now went back and corrected it. But folks who subscribe will have seen the misspellings already!

Axelle, you are a better man that I. You and Allie should get together, what with your rinsing out clay litter and drying it in the sun and her papier mache cat litter also drying in the sun.

Man, I’m up way past my bed time again.

14 years ago

Arya just called and left a message saying I can’t spel SwheathShcoop. SweatCsoop. SweetScoop.

14 years ago

Those are THE BEST photos! Thank you, thank you for sharing them with your faithful fans, Beth, and thank you, Arya, for lovin' your litter.

I don't like World's Best or Swheatsworth. They turn to dust and the dust gets tracked everywhere. They cost an arm & a leg and they can't be reused. I've gone back to using clay litter in paper sacks because it hardly tracks, it's cheap, and because it can be reused and here's how: When the litter box is ready to be changed, I scoop out the poops, pour the used litter into a bucket, add water, slosh it around, and lug the bucket behind my house where I pour it onto a framed window screen that's raised off the ground a few inches with tree branches that fell in the last windstorm. I turn a hose on the litter to wash out the pee and a lot of the clay dust. spread the wet litter as evenly as possible over the window screen, and go back in the house. If there's no rain and the fog hasn't been heavy, the litter will dry fresh as new in a couple of days. If the sun is out, it dries right away. Next time the weather is warm and sunny, I can rinse brand-new clay litter with household waste water to lessen dust. No plastic involved except for the bucket, the hose and the litterbox.