Have you heard of using wood pellets as kitty litter? It’s inexpensive and 100% natural – no silica particles, no toxins, fragrances or dust. All you need to get started is a clean cat box, baking soda, and a bag of 100% softwood wood pellets.
Ahead of time, moisten a few handfuls of wood pellets with water until they turn into sawdust. The video below shows a timelapse of wood pellets absorbing water to create fluffy horse bedding. You’ll basically be doing the same thing, but on a smaller scale.
Spread out the saw dust in a place set aside to let it dry out before use.
Meanwhile, sprinkle the bottom of the cat box with baking soda. Pour in enough wood pellets to fully cover the bottom of the box, plus enough extra on top to allow for any digging/moving around.
Once your pellet sawdust is dried out, mix that in with the regular pellets in the box. The sawdust part isn’t completely necessary – it just makes for a fluffier substance that may be more comfortable for your cat.
Your pellet kitty litter will absorb any moisture quickly, and will turn into clumped together sawdust. This is easily sifted away from the remaining pellet mixture, which saves the still usable dry pellet litter.
Wood pellets are also growing in popularity as horse stall bedding – taking the place of the usual straw and wood shavings. Pellet bedding is ideal for stables with space constraints, because storing wood pellets takes up significantly less space than other alternatives. One bag of wood pellets takes up only 1.5 cubic feet of space in storage, but expands after proper wetting to nearly 4 cubic feet of bedding.
All you’ll need to prepare wood pellet horse bedding is a bucket of water, a pair of scissors, and a bag of 100% softwood pellets. To get started, lay the bags spaced out on the floor where you need your horse bedding.
Use scissors to carefully cut a cross shape in the plastic, then tuck the flaps inside the bag.
Pour a bucket of water into the opening. Warm water will speed the process up a bit, but cold water works just as well. Warm water takes about 20 minutes to fully change the pellets into bedding, and cold water will take approximately 60 minutes. The video posted in the above kitty litter tutorial shows the absorption timelapse.
Wait for the water to fully absorb into the pellets. You’ll see them expand to about 4 times the original size! Once the pellets have completed the absorption – just flip the bag, dump out the fluffy sawdust, and rake it into even bedding.
A standard 40 pound bag of softwood pellets will cover a space about 5.5 feet by 5.5 feet, with a depth of about 1.5 inches. Use however many bags you need to cover your horse stall, and to reach the depth you desire.
The super absorbency of wood pellets is also used to help safely clean up oil, gas, solvent spills and sludge on both large and small scales.
Depending on the material that needs to be cleaned up, the wood pellets can in some instances absorb, biodegrade and neutralize spills, and be left as is. In other cases, the pellets will absorb the spill and solidify into clumps that are easy to remove and transport away from the site responsibly.
One notable example of large-scale wood pellet cleanup is a former General Motors factory in northern New York has contaminated sludge that needs to be removed before it can be safe to sell.
The pellets are brought in by the truckload to help solidify the sludge, making for easy transport off site. Anne E. Kelly, Project Manager for the Environmental Protection Agency explains, “There’s no odor or anything. I can’t believe it’s just wood. It starts out as soupy, nasty sludge. Over the course of a day it binds up.”
Garden and Compost Additive
We’ve heard from many folks that wood pellet ash is really helpful in their compost pile, and their gardens! In the beginning of Spring, when the soil is dry, wood pellet ash can be used in soil to add natural nutrients, and to reduce soil acidity. It’s important to know your soil’s pH balance before adding ashes, and what kind of plants like the soil to be acidic.
Sprinkling the ashes around plants will act as a barrier against slugs and snails trying to get to them. After a heavy rain, however, the barrier will need to be reapplied. Stay on the safe side when using ashes in the garden, by using protective gloves, eyewear and mask.
Do you have other uses for wood pellets? We’d love to hear them!