Repurposing is all the rage, but sometimes it’s hard to envision a new use for an old object. Rebecca Proctor supplies the inspiration in Recycled Home: Transform Your Home Using Salvaged Materials (Laurence King Publishing, $19.95 in softcover) .
The book contains 50 projects, some using common materials such as old newspapers and fabric scraps and others using such flea-market finds as printing blocks and cafe chairs. Among the projects are a Shaker peg rail made from scrap wood, a child’s play mat crafted from old fabric and a towel ladder made from driftwood.
Proctor supplies the instructions, but she encourages readers to use the projects as starting points for their own ideas.
Q. Can I compost my cat litter?
Composting pet waste is possible, but doing so safely at home is complicated and time-consuming, said Fred Michel, an associate professor of biosystems engineering and a composting specialist at Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
Cat and dog waste contain pathogens that can harm humans — in dogs, large roundworms; in cats, the organism that causes toxoplasmosis, a disease linked to birth defects. In a typical home compost pile, it can take up to a year of active decomposition to kill those pathogens, Michel said. To make sure those pathogens are eliminated, you can’t add any fresh animal waste to the compost pile during that decomposition time, Michel said. That means you’d need to maintain multiple piles, one that you add to regularly and another one or more piles that are maturing.
You also need to be careful about the kind of cat litter you choose. Only litters made from biodegradable sources can be composted, such as sawdust, pine or recycled paper.
Michel said another complication is that animal waste by itself will compost poorly, with a bad odor and a poor structure.