Get the scoop on recycling pet waste


It’s a pleasure when my son volunteers to help around the house. It doesn’t happen as much as I would like so when he offers to help clean our guinea pigs’ hutch it’s hard to turn him down.

He loves knowing that little Marcel has a clean bed to go to and I like knowing that we are doing our bit by recycling his old bedding.

You can do the same too. The hay or straw that keeps your small pets toasty can be easily recycled. Because rabbits, hamsters and Marcel’s guinea-friends don’t eat meat their used bedding can be added to your garden waste ­– just put it in the white sack or brown wheelie bin on a Green Week.

Find out what goes in each bin and when here

Unfortunately any paper you might have lined the hutch with cannot be recycled. It’s just too icky and can’t be separated from the ammonia and other chemicals in pet waste, so should go in your black bin bag. Screw it up small so it doesn’t take up too much room.

I know there are a lot of cat owners out there and I’m afraid that cat litter is not recyclable so it should go in your black bag/bin as well. If you’re on a black bag collection please remember our collection crews’ backs and try not to make each bag too heavy.

The same goes for any dog and cat foods that weren’t gobbled up, as this can’t go in your Food Caddy (a restriction from the anaerobic digestion plant where we send all your food). The only problem is that once this goes in the black bin bag it can start to smell pretty quickly, especially during the summer. The best thing to do is make sure any food is thoroughly wrapped. You can help even further by keeping your bin in a shady part of the garden or by dropping some bicarbonate of soda in first.

Pet food cans can be recycled like any other (worth dancing for). It’s a pet peeve of mine that the laminated sachets that are becoming ever more popular can’t be recycled. We’ll just have to keep pestering manufacturers until they are! In the meantime they will have to go in your black bag/bin.

Catch you next time star recyclers.

2 thoughts on “Get the scoop on recycling pet waste

  1. Tim Nice

    Fully agree with your comment about the collectors backs – however this problem is encouraged by the new policy that insists we cram as much as we possibly can into just three bags a fortnight. If the Council adopted a more sensible approach we could spread the load out into more bags and avoid back injury.

    Re – not putting left over pet food into the food waste caddy. I have been doing this so far. Can you justify this unnecessary restriction, bearing in mind that pet food is supposed to be “fit for human consumption” and should therefore not be any different to human food waste.


    • Hello Tim,

      Thanks for emailing in, it’s always nice to talk to readers of the blog.

      The new policy is aimed at increasing the amount of recycling we do in Colchester. On average 80% of a black bin bag can be recycled. We’re still collecting all your household waste, we’re just asking for it to be sorted into the correct containers, which will help spread the load for the collectors and helps reduce the amount we send to landfill. There’s a really helpful list on our website to show what can and can’t be recycled or take a look at the Recycle Now website for the more unusual items around the home that you might be missing

      Regarding the pet food, this is something that is specified by the composting company that receives our waste and will be linked to the finished product that they produce. The contract for this is managed by Essex County Council. Please do contact them if you would like more information




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