Paper made from Animal Dung
Origami enthusiasts are always interested in new kinds of paper on the market. Did you know that some papers are made with animal droppings?
Animals which eat a lot of vegetable matter and have poor digestive systems generate poo that is suitable for making paper. The animal droppings are washed and boiled for many hours. The solution is then blended or spun to soften and cut the fibers. Other things such as dye and/or other fibrous materials may be be added to give the solution the proper consistency. The slurry is then sifted onto rectangular sieves and allowed to dry. When dry, the thin layer of plant fibers is peeled off the sieve and made into paper and paper products.
- Elephant Dung Paper (Lampang, Thailand): It is estimated that one elephant can produce enough dung to make about 115 sheets of paper per day.
- Mr Ellie Pooh (Sri Lanka): Paper products are 100% recycled; 75% of the content is from elephant dung. The papers are handmade, acid free, and made with no toxic chemicals.
- Elephant Poo Paper (conservation parks): One piece of elephant poo can make 25 sheets of large paper – this translates to about 10 standard sized journals.
You can see a small selection of elephant poo paper products (stationary, journals, note box, photo albums, and flowers!) from amazon.com.
- Sheep Poo Paper™ (Wales): From the beautiful mountains of Snowdonia, Wales, sheep poo is collected and boiled to over 120 degrees centigrade and then washed repeatedly over a period of days.
- Dung and Dunger (Idaho, USA): Inspired by the work done in Thailand with elephant dung, artists Victor Bruha and Daniel Hidalgo from Idaho started to make paper from bison chips (chips = dried poo). They currently sell bison dung paper and artwork.
- Creative Paper (Tasmania): Established in the 1990’s, Creative Paper introduced Roo Poo paper in 2005. At that time, it took over 50 pounds (25 kg) of kangaroo droppings to make 400 sheets of A4 paper. See BBC story
- Panda Bear:
- Giant Panda Bears (Thailand & China): In 2005, Thailand began to make paper from panda bear poo. In 2007, China started to make paper from panda droppings too. These special paper and paper products are predominantly available on site: at the Chiang Mai Zoo and the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base.
It is interesting to note that different suppliers have different motivations as to why they make paper from animal droppings:
- Conservation: by making paper from animal poo, they are saving trees; the paper making process may sustain a local business; and the earnings may offset the price of maintaining the animals in the facility.
- Management: making paper from animal droppings may be a way of managing the poo generated in zoos and research facilities.
- Art: some do it as a form of artistic expression.
- Profit: some do it as a way to profit from the “green” movement. It is possible that these manufacturers add a little bit of poo as a gimmick to sell poo paper to unsuspecting buyers.
Before you buy poo paper, you should ask yourself why you wish to do so and choose a supplier whose goals are in agreement with your own.