Hey there, cat parents! Whether you have a Litter Robot or are thinking about getting one, these strategies help us make this self-cleaning litter box a little more environmentally friendly each month. Here are my favorite tips to make my Litter Robot eco friendly.
What is a litter robot?
A Litter Robot is an automatic self-cleaning litter box. It basically looks like a giant sphere on a pedastal with a short ramp up to the entrance.
It is one of the highest quality automatic litter boxes on the market!
Are Litter Robots eco-friendly?
Honestly, Litter Robots are not as eco-friendly as, say, a stainless steel litter box, but there are some advantages to using a Litter Robot!
First of all, we use far less litter than before. Since the litter is constantly being cycled, only the used litter goes into the waste compartment. The device itself only holds enough litter to work, so you won’t be filling a big tray with litter. This in itself is an environmental advantage.
Litter Robot also constructs their devices with recycled plastics to cut down on the amount of virgin plastics used. Although recycled plastic is imperfect, the company is at least trying to repurpose products that would otherwise be considered waste.
We also appreciate that Litter Robot has a good warranty, sells refurbished models, and offers replacement parts. This was a big part of why we decided this product was worth the investment:
- It’s made to last
- The company stands by the product
- We can purchase Litter Robot replacement parts
Many customers report keeping their Litter Robots for 8-10 years! Learn more.
Why would someone buy a Litter Robot?
Our sweet rescue cat Hillbilly Potatoleaf (aka “Billy”) is a picky boy. If his litter box is not clean, he will find something he does think is clean instead.
This could be…bathroom mats, piles of clean clothes, piles of dirty clothes, that towel you left on the washing machine, and pretty much any type of fabric.
If we keep the box clean, he won’t use the bathroom anywhere else. If we don’t…you get it.
There are so many reasons why someone would want a Litter Robot or even already have one. I’m not here to judge! For us, we made the choice due to convenience. It was a constant struggle to keep the box clean and it made more sense to implement a support to make sure my cat had a clean, healthy place to do his business.
For other people, a Litter Robot can be a great time saver if you have multiple cats or it may help people with mobility challenges to clean the litter box with ease.
Simple Hacks to Make Your Litter Robot Eco-Friendly
1. Buy a refurbished model
Did you know that Litter Robot sometimes sells refurbished models at a discounted price? These are limited so you really have to watch for when they become available!
We were able to get a reconditioned Litter Robot 3 for $410. That’s $89 less than an identical model new.
By buying a refurbished model instead of a new one, we made our purchase just a tiny bit more eco-friendly. We did not get a brand new model and instead we bought one that must have had some sort of problem before. I doubt they would have trashed it, but buying refurbished electronics is a great way to keep them out of landfills!
2. Pay extra for the extended Litter Robot warranty
Litter Robots have a built-in warranty of 1 year. For $100, you can triple that warranty to last 3 years.
Since we bought a refurbished model, we wanted to make sure we had help lined up for as long as possible.
Plus, from an environmental perspective, it’s better to repair and fix items than to dispose of them. We really want to make our Litter Robot last as long as possible to avoid it adding to the electronics waste problem!
Also, this extended warranty includes parts, labor, and shipping. I’ve read that they’ve even replaced dysfunctional models completely for no extra cost!
3. Get plant-based litter
You can’t just use any ol’ litter you’d like in the Litter Robot because the device’s sensors require a specific weight. Some litters, like many pine litters, are simply too light and will not work properly. Plus, you must use a clumping litter.
We haven’t found a totally plastic-free cat litter option that works with the Litter Robot, unfortunately. We were using the oxocat blue box packaged in cardboard with a plastic handle, but I believe that litter is too lightweight. We’ve been finishing it up by adding in a few handfuls at a time with our new litter.
best eco friendly litter for litter robot
We switched to World’s Best clumping litter in a green bag and buy the largest container we can to minimize our packaging waste. This is a corn-derived cat litter, which is more eco friendly than traditional clay-based litters that require mining.
Other reviewers have shared that Swheat Scoop works, too! You can find clumping Swheat Scoop in a cardboard box with a plastic handle, so this might be your best option yet. The prices are about the same between the two brands, depending on the size of the bag.
4. Rethink the litter tray bags
There are several options to make disposing of your cat’s litter more sustainable. First of all, the name brand Litter Robot bags are listed as biodegradable. This simply means that they will break down eventually and they are a bioplastic. They are more expensive than the other options, though, but are guaranteed to fit perfectly well.
Personally, we bought a 45 pack of compostable trash bags that we now use in our kitchen and our Litter Robot. The Litter Robot bags are tall kitchen bags and literally all tall kitchen bags should work.
Since biodegradable plastic isn’t all that much better than oil-based plastic, I wanted to look into some other options!
Use the Litter Robot without a bag!
You don’t want to stick a paper bag in your Litter Robot tray because even with clumping litter, you’ll deal with moisture weakening the bag pretty quickly.
One option to fix this is to place a foil baking pan in your Litter Robot tray. You can then add the litter directly to your household trash bag or a paper bag.
You could skip the foil tray entirely and let the litter freefall directly into the tray, but that sounds a bit messy.
If you try the foil tray strategy and have problems, try molding the edges to fit the shape of the container.
- Ditch plastic bags
- Use up older paper bags
- Some people report that this may affect the sensor and make the Litter Robot think it is full before it is. You may need to empty more often.
- Less covenient
- More parts to clean and manage
4. Find natural carbon filters
This is the one area that was really tricky. The Litter Robot uses a piece of carbon filter to absorb the odors from the litter in the waste tray. It is so hard to know what those filters are made of and I’m thankful to this post for helping me understand that they are typically synthetic fibers.
I did find one carbon filter made with cotton, but not to the right size.
So what are our options?
- Ditch the filter entirely and empty the box more often (stinky)
- Purchase filters in bulk to reduce packaging waste (while still using synthetic fibers that will end up in the landfill – no thanks!)
- Try an activated charcoal filter pouch that you can recharge in the sun!
These bamboo charcoal filter pouches are supposed to last for 3 years. Every few months, you can set them in the sun for a few hours to recharge them.
This seems like the most eco-friendly alternative I’ve found to replace disposable carbon filters! Once ours run out, we’re going to try this out. You can even make your own!
5. How to dispose of cat litter
I was so hoping that I could put my cat litter in my green bin! It’s such a convenient way to compost. Unfortunately, my composting service is not suited to deal with cat waste.
According to Waste Management, cat litter should be disposed of in the garbage can.
Can you compost cat litter?
Honestly, it’s possible, but it’s also tricky. Cat feces have pathogens that survive up to high temperatures. They can infiltrate waterways and also spread to your vegetable garden.
Personally, we do not compost our cat litter. Learn more about composting cat litter here or seek out a local composting expert to assess if it’s right for your property.
Are Litter Robots worth it?
Oh my goodness, YES! I love our Litter Robot. Like, 2-3 times per week I’ll just go in the laundry room and watch it cycle. For fun.
When people come over to the house, I ask them, “hey, do you want to see a $500 litter box?” We all go watch it clean and we ooh and aah together.
I find myself recommending them to everyone. Recently, I was telling my acupuncturist about them! (He has a Lomi food composter, so we take turns sharing about our gadgets.)
Litter Robot Deals
So, if I was in the market for purchasing a Litter Robot, I would do 2 things.
1. Sign up for Rakuten
This is a cash-back program that we used to get $113 back on our eco-friendly mattress! Basically, Rakuten (formerly eBates) will give you an extra percentage back on your purchase for certain brands.
At the time of publication, Rakuten offers 5% cash back on Litter Robots. This means you could get an extra $25 back on a $500 Litter Robot. That’s not a ton, but it adds up!
If you’re a new Rakuten user, you can get an extra $30 back when you sign up for a free account through my referral link. (You’ll be able to offer the same deal to your friends and family, too!)
2. Shop using my link for an additional $25 off
This is the same referral link you’d get to share with friends and family. When you shop using my link, you’ll get an additional $25 off your purchase price!
3. Look for refurbished Litter Robots.
They are not always available and especially with the shortages due to the pandemic, you might need to wait a minute!
4. Skip the bells and whistles
Although there is a WIFI enabled Litter Robot that will give you data about your cat’s behaviors on an app, we don’t feel that is necessary. At least not for Billy. If you have a cat with health issues, this could be beneficial.
This allowed us to save a little extra in the process.
Where to Buy Litter Robot
Litter Robots are the best for a reason
Even though they are expensive, they are the best-rated self-cleaning litter boxes on the market. We absolutely looked into buying something cheaper secondhand, but their reviews just did not stand up to the Litter Robot.
In fact, we couldn’t even find a secondhand Litter Robot in our area. That says it all, right?
They sell refurbished options that give you a slightly less expensive way into Litter Robot ownership.
How do you make your Litter Robot eco friendly?
Share your favorite tips below – Litter Robot bags, filters, routines, etc!