Composting Rat Litter
by Ronnie Ugulano
I just want to put in a good word for one way to dispose of used rat litter. Compost it. Specifically, compost it using "red wiggler" earthworms. Here's how:
If you have space outside in a relatively protected area out of direct sunlight, (not much, just a corner), dump some used rat litter. We're talking about shredded paper, aspen, Yesterday's News, Woody Pet, or Ultra Care types of litter, not clay cat litter used as rat litter. Add one handful of corn meal, and then dampen the whole thing down. Go to a pet store or fishing supply and get some red wigglers, say 200, and top the pile off with the contents. Keep pile moist but not soggy. Dampen new additions of used rat litter, and add one handful of corn meal. Turn the pile once in a while with a yard fork.
From this point, you'll find that your compost pile will never really "fill up", allowing you to keep the pile going forever without doing much with it, and there will be little or no smell.
You can use a bucket (like a diaper pail, figure 3-4 times the size of one week's worth of rat litter) to enclose the compost pile. Put a few inches of damp dirt (3-4) in the bottom before adding the rat litter. Leave the top off, use a screened top, or if you want to leave the lid on, drill a couple of holes near the top to allow air. Add your handful of cornmeal, dampen the litter, and add about 200 "red wiggler" worms. Dampen new additions of used rat litter, and one handful of corn meal.
Again, after a certain point, you'll find that your compost bin will never really "fill up", and there will be little or no smell. In fact, lots of vermicomposters (Worm Wranchers) routinely keep a compost bin in their kitchen for kitchen scraps with no one the wiser. It's important, though, to pay attention that the compost doesn't get too wet.
For additional information on vermicomposting (composting with earthworms) in general, see "The Earthworm Farm".