I Used Plastic Shopping Bags to Clean My Cats’ Litter Boxes. Here’s What Works For Me Now.
We're a few weeks into the New Jersey single-use plastic bag ban. Although I've heard a few grumblings here and there about how annoying it is, for the most part, I think many of us are already kind of used to it. Like many other New Jerseyans, I still have trouble remembering to bring reusable bags with me to the store, but personally, I don't really mind the ban!
But as a pet owner of two cats, the ban has proven to be a bit of a challenge for one particular reason: I used to have a whole closet filled with literally hundreds of plastic bags (especially Target ones), stored for the sole purpose of using them to empty the waste contents of my cats' litter boxes. They were free, and they were perfect for what I needed them for. Good for the environment? Yeah, not so much. But admittedly, that was something I was happy not to think about.
So when I first heard that there would be a plastic ban in New Jersey, the first question that popped in my head was "Well now what do I use for cleaning the litter box?"
Now that the ban has been in effect for about a couple of weeks, allow me to share with you the trials and errors of what I've attempted to use as a replacement.
Where do most people first turn when they're looking for something in particular? Yeah. I went to Amazon.
I thought I would get a wide selection of alternatives when I searched for "large litter box poop bags", but I was mistaken. What I found were mostly small, portable poop bags for people who take their dogs on walks. Not suitable for drooping big scoops of dirty litter into. The bag size is what I'm mostly concerned about, because having two cats and two litter boxes, I'm regularly digging out huge chunks of dirty litter, so I need something large.
I came across these bags on Amazon that claim to biodegradable. I mean, being environmentally-friendly is the whole point of the ban, right?
The bag looked big enough in this picture, so in a hurry, I clicked "add to cart". I should've looked more closely.
My mom occasionally helps me clean the boxes when I'm not home, so she was curious about these new fancy, environmentally-friendly, biodegradable bags too. When I pulled one of them out, I was utterly crestfallen. It was SO small!
My mom cackled at the tiny green thing in my hand, "I'm not using that thing!"
I'm not either! So it was back to Amazon.
After a more thorough search for correctly-sized bags, I came across these. I wanted to keep the "green" eco-friendly theme, so I took a look at these.
100-count, 11 in. X 18 in., extra large with handled-ties, and made from corn starch, these eco-friendly "Heavy Dootie Bags" marketed for dog waste, also claimed to be perfect for cat litter waste on the Amazon page. And for $12.95? Psh. It was in my cart and shipped to me the following day.
And these are great. As you can see, they're a lot bigger than that last wimpy little bag.
Now honestly? I wish they were a little wider at the opening. Sometimes it's hard to angle the scoop into the bag so that nothing spills out from the sides. But I got the hang of it. After a week and a half of using these bags, I give them 8.5/10. They're sturdy, the handles are easy to tie, and they get the job done for two cats, cleaning the litter boxes daily. For a larger load of litter box poop, I sometimes use two of these.
Might there be better, wider "green" eco-friendly poop bags out there? Probably. I would like these even better if they were biodegradable. But I don't want to put these bags to waste hoping to find something better. So for now, these work for me, and I actually do recommend them!
If you have cats and you're living in New Jersey, what are you using to clean your litter boxes with the bag ban effect? Let me know what works for you - I'm always up for kitty advice!
And please enjoy this picture of my two children. :)
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