Eco-Friendly Ways to Recycle Your Cat's Used Items

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Looking to level-up your eco-friendliness? If you’re already using biodegradable litter, recycling your cat food containers, and using green cleaning products, you go one step further with your cat’s toys and other used items. How? It’s all about recycling, upcycling, donating, and rejuvenating those ignored and adored cat items.

Let’s get closer to zero-waste with our feline friends. Are you ready to get creative, crafty, and organized? Here’s what you need to know to recycle your cat’s old toys:

How to Recycle Your Cat’s Used Items

How’s Your Recycling Know-How?

plastic bottles for recycling, be eco-friendly

When you recycle, you reduce waste, reduce de-forestry and other destruction of the planet, and minimize the harvest of natural resources. When you don’t recycle correctly, you make the process less efficient and can increase waste. To maximize the positive impact of recycling, be sure you’re recycling in a responsible way.

How to Recycle Cat Food Packaging

Recycling your cat’s food containers begins at the store. Before you buy or even bring your cat’s food home, check the packaging for a recycling label. Most paper bags, plastic pouches, and cans can be recycled.

  • Be sure to rinse those cans and pouches before recycling them.
  • Separate paper from plastic of multi-layer bags
  • Opt for natural packaging materials that are more easily recycled.

Donate Your Cat’s Unused Toys and Items to a Shelter

donate used items to a local cat shelter

Those toys your cat ignores are just collecting dust and taking up room. And that bed, that isn’t nearly as comfy as the shoebox she sleeps in instead, is going to waste. Why not donate them to a shelter?

Cat rescues and shelters often struggle to provide enough toys, beds, and bedding for their cats. In fact, toys are usually on the top of most shelters’ wish lists. They also go through loads and loads of towels, washcloths, and carriers if you’re looking for a way to recycle those.

If your used cat items are in like-new condition, they can make gift packages for new cat parents to help welcome their new kitties into their homes.

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The right choice, for your kitty and the earth.

Give Away Toys That Still Have Some Life Away

When you just have a few small items like a collar and a toy or two, you can give them away for free to a neighbor. Post them on a website like Craigslist or an app like Nextdoor. This will get them into the hands of someone who will use them and keep them out of the landfill.

Upcycle Those Kitty Toys, Containers, and Trinkets

Reuse Empty Food Packages Before Recycling Them

You’re going through the trouble of washing your cat food can, why not turn them into something useful around the house.

DIY Candle Holder Crafting Idea form a Recycled Cans

Some of our favorite upcycle ideas for cat food tins

  • Recover them with fabric or paper and make them into vegan candles.
  • Attach them to a wood board as storage containers.
  • Re-label them as small storage for items like nails, screws, thumbtacks.
  • Paint your tins and use them as planters.
  • Create a bird feeder.

Rejuvenate Your Kitty’s Toys

Re-Invent a Toy’s Use

  • If your cat gets bored with a toy mouse, bird, or ball, tie some yarn to it and hang it from the door handle, windowsill, or her cat tree.
  • Store the toy in your catnip container for a few days.

Pull Out the Needle and Thread

You don’t have to be a seamstress to get crafty with your cat’s toys. She won’t mind crooked lines or a thread color that doesn’t match.

eco-friendly cat toy stuffed with catnip & cat scratcher made of 100% recycled cardboard
  • If your cat’s favorite toy has a few holes, don’t toss it out quite yet. Sew up the holes and let your kitty keep her fave toy a while longer.
  • Add a few bells to a toy that doesn’t get enough attention.
  • Snip the seam, add catnip, and sew it back up.
  • When your cat’s bed gets a tear or the stuffing goes flat, add a bit more stuffing and stitch it back together.

Re-Carpet or Recover That Cat Tree

young cat plays with an eco-friendly toy mouse on an upcycled cat tree

If your cat is part chimpanzee and lives for her cat tree, but her perches don’t seem as perky as they could be, you can recover or recarpet them to wake it up a little. Use carpet squares or a discount bath mat, or upcycle curtains or fabric from a secondhand store.

Sink Your Claws into This One: Re-Rope The Scratching Post

Your cat scratches to relieve stress and maintain healthy claws. If your cat’s scratching post’s rope is tattered, tired, or becoming undone, hot glue new rope around it and give it a second life.

Cardboard Scratching Boards Can Be Repaired

Here’s a win-win rejuvenation project. Do you know those Amazon boxes that seem to stack up in the corner? With a box-cutter, scissors, a ruler, glue, and a pencil, you can repair sections of your cat’s scratching post. Use the cardboard with the corrugated edge showing.

Keep Your Imagination Alight

handmade, eco-friendly knitted cat toy

Stay creative and you’ll find new ways to upcycle and improve your kitty’s life by reusing items around your house. Corks, cardboard, t-shirts, and ribbon can be added to toys or crafted into something new. You may even make your cat’s day with a shoebox full of tissue paper.

Reduce Your Carbon Paw-Print, Save Money, and Increase Your Green-Reach

eco-friendly cat toys on the grass

Our cats come with a carbon footprint, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be environmentally responsible. As a cat parent, you can recycle, repurpose, and rejuvenate your cat’s used items and reduce waste. It only takes a little effort, know-how, creativity, and desire to be green. You can even have some fun making Franken-toys as gifts for your cat-parent friends and save some money.

Before you toss that toy, packaging, or scratching post, decide if you can give it a second life or recycle it appropriately.

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Introducing TofuKitty litter

Hi, I’m Molly, an environmental ecologist and creator of TofuKitty. I created a new kind of litter that was made with you, your kitty, and the planet in mind. You shouldn’t have to choose between effective cat litter and making green choices. My litter is:


Triple odor protection


Dust free




Low tracking

Chemical free

Super absorbent

Pest free

Soft on paws

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The right choice, for your kitty and the earth.
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The right choice, for your kitty and the earth.
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