The idea for an environmentally friendly cat litter came to Ahwatukee Foothills resident John King when he was going to buy some new tires.
The business he went to charged $2.50 per tire to dispose of the old tires. But it wasn't the price that got him thinking, it was when he was told that the company, Crumb Rubber Manufacturers in Mesa, was processing 300,000 pounds of old tires per day. CRM sells the ground-up tires bits for things like asphalt and playgrounds.
"I thought about what else could be done with ground-up tires," he said. "For some reason I thought of cat litter."
Cat litter is "the third-biggest item that ends up in landfills," King said. "First is diapers, then newspapers, and the third is cat litter. Some 8 million pounds of it ends up in the dump every year."
With this knowledge King developed the idea for EnviroKats, a cat litter box system that he says will never have to be replaced.
"You should never have to change the litter," he said. "It is 100 percent reusable."
The EnviroKat kit, which he sells online only at the moment, comes with roughly 18 pounds of tire bits and the plastic container which has a release valve for easy cleaning. When someone is ready to clean the litter box, after scooping out the solid parts, water is sprayed into the box and flushes out of the drain valve.
"You put in about a gallon of water or so and let it drain," he said. "You are not throwing anything away."
But the product would not be a success however unless the cats would actually use it.
"Cats can be very finicky," King said.
But after trying out EnviroKats in several homes, it was clear that wasn't going to be a problem.
"I had no problem transitioning them from the old cat litter," she said. "All six of my cats started using it almost immediately."
As for the smell, King said it will actually lessen that litter box smell in homes with cats.
"The litter is made from carbon-based materials, it naturally absorbs the smell," he said.