Ahhh, yes. The original recycled paper! Poo Paper manufacturing is a fantastic use of natural resources to create a practical product that’s made from… poo! Organizations from all over the world, such as The Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company and Creative Paper Wales, make paper from the fibrous materials left in elephant, sheep, horse, cow, panda, reindeer, rhino and even wombat poo. Due to the digestive systems of these animals, up to 60 per cent of the food consumed (including grasses, leaves, bamboo and fruits) exits the animal undigested, leaving fibres that make great paper.
The plentiful sheep farming industry in Wales (approximately 2.3 sheep for every person!) provides Creative Paper Wales with an abundant natural resource to create its Sheep Poo Paper products. Lawrence Toms of Creative Paper Wales states that they produce approximately four tonnes of Sheep Poo Paper every year and have four staff working relentlessly to turn poo into product. Additionally, elephants produce the most raw material for Poo Paper because they are the largest land animals in the world. They produce approximately 220 pounds of dung every day. The Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company can produce 25 large 2’x3’ sheets or 10 complete journals with just one elephant’s waste for one day.
How It’s Made
The Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company’s process is a fairly simple one, whereby dried elephant dung is rinsed to expose the fibres, which are then boiled and additional fibres from banana and pineapple trees are added to increase the strength. The slurry is then made into small “cakes,” which are spread over a mesh-bottomed tray, similar to any handmade paper-making process. The mesh screen is then propped up against a tree and is left to dry naturally in the sun.
A frequently asked question about using poo as the raw material is, “does the paper smell bad?” The answer is, no. When the fibres are boiled, they become clean and are simply plant fibres ready for the next step in processing. I can personally attest to the fact that the finished paper does not smell. If anything, Elephant Poo Poo Paper has a natural woody, earthy smell.
Why It’s An Amazing Product
Do I even need to explain why?! Not only can you write your grocery list on the same, um, “stuff” your vegetables are grown in, but the companies that manufacture and sell Poo Paper have ahead-of-the-curve environmental mandates. These organizations give back to our environment through the animal communities they aim to protect and they don’t take anything in return. They are not cutting down trees or destroying essential habitats to create their products. They simply remove unwanted (and smelly) waste and turn it into something useful, creating a truly sustainable product life cycle. “We are rooted in our belief that our products represent a healthy and sustainable balance between ecological responsibility and commercial pursuit,” The Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company proudly states. It’s like the perfect fusion between the stock market and a local market stocked full of fresh, organic whole food…it’s a beautiful thing.
Also, any company whose slogan is “We’re Number One at Number Two” is okay by my standards.
Practical Uses For Poo
Due to the handmade nature of Poo Paper and the labour intensive process to gather the raw material, sheets are not sold for bargain basement prices. Therefore, it is safe to say that you won’t find the most recent edition of Rolling Stone magazine or the latest Harlequin romance novel printed on Poo Paper (although some would find this fitting). Practical uses include gift cards, note paper, journals and even air fresheners (rose, daffodil or fresh cut grass scents).
“We have a broad market for Sheep Poo Paper, from corporate clients wanting ‘standout’ for their publications, all the way through to brides seeking something special for their wedding stationary,” says Lawrence Toms of Creative Paper Wales.
I came across an excellent suggested use for Wombat Poo Paper from an individual who posted a response to an article about this topic. He inquired, “Do you use it to write break up letters or letters of resignation? Maybe an angry letter to a company that wronged you?” What an excellent suggestion! The person on the other end (excuse the pun) will never know it’s poo. It will be your little secret!
So head out to a gift shop that sells environmentally-friendly products, buy a package of Poo Paper stationary, and find a quiet spot to write your angry letter. Happy hunting! (Not actual hunting because that would go against everything I just said).