I am REALLY glad I decided to start up my little pet waste vermicomposting project recently. Not because the project itself is particularly earth-shattering (although, it’s definitely going to get a whole lot more interesting!)
No, it was the information shared by RWC readers – namely, Paul L., “Kim from Milwaukee”, and “Priswell” – that completely changed things for me on this front! Paul and Priswell, in particular, told me about the potential for using stove pellets as an earth-friendly litter.
And here I was all set to continue (reluctantly) using clumping clay litter. I ASSumed there really weren’t any affordable eco-friendly alternatives – only to learn that these pellets are even cheaper than the cheapest (“No Name Brand” for those of you up here in Canada) clumping cat litter – $5.99 for 18 kg of the pellets vs $8.99 for 18 kg of litter!! Beyond that awesome potential, it gets even better. I think these pellets may even represent a viable alternative to worm bedding materials like coco coir!
As you can see in the image, the particular pellets I’m using (perhaps Paul will chime in and let me know if he’s using the same ones) are called “CANAWICK Hardwood Pellets”, created by CANAWICK Ecological Fuels. I think they are focused primarily on the Canadian market (I bought the bags from Canadian Tire – a major department store chain up here), but I see on their retailers page that they are also available in parts of the U.S. I’m sure there must be some similar products out there as well.
I would have ASSumed (lol) a product like this would:
A) Contain chemicals to improve burning etc (or just generally added during the pellet-creation process) and/or
B) Not really be eco-friendly since requiring wood (i.e. trees)
As it turns out, these ones (and maybe most of them on the market) are chemical-free and are made from waste sawdust “originating in supply sources compliant with SFI and PEFC standards”.
When I first set eyes on the pellets, I still wasn’t sure how they could possibly work as a kitty litter material (let alone a composting worm bedding). They look like rabbit food pellets when they first come out of the bag. I actually missed a key piece of information Priswell shared about spraying them down with water before use – but it didn’t take me long to figure this out anyway. My cat did (surprisingly) start using the box containing the pellets, and they started breaking down as they became moistened. I also put some in a cup and added water to see what would happen, and was pleasantly surprised to see the cup fill up (quickly) with a beautiful, fluffy moistened bedding!
I’ve been adding some of it to my VB48, and the trays down below, and the Euros seem to really like it! I also want to explore the possibility of making a sort of “food” out of it by mixing it with nitrogen-rich liquids (eg yeast suspension, food waste slurry etc).
I need to crunch some numbers, but I am pretty sure this stuff is cheaper than coir, and I have a sneaking suspicion the worms are going like it even more (in my experience, worms aren’t super crazy about coir – but maybe it’s just me! haha).
I will write more about using these pellets as a kitty litter soon (FYI -I’ve been very impressed thus far) – including the little extra twist I plan to implement, thanks to the info provided by “Kim from Milwaukee”! As you might imagine, I am going to be in need of a pretty serious pet waste vermicomposter upgrade now that I will be composting the litter itself – so you can expect to see a post on that topic pretty soon as well.
Thanks again to all my awesome readers who chime in with information and ideas!