Now who would have thought that you can make paper from elephant dung?
Well it’s not as crazy as it seems. Elephants are vegetarians, spending 17 – 19 hours a day feeding. An adult elephant eats up to 180kg of plant fibre every day and goes to the toilet 16 times a day producing about 100kg of dung. This dung is rich in cellulose and is ideal for making paper using traditional handmade paper making methods. In fact you could call the elephant the world’s largest living pulp mill.
So how is the paper made?
Using natural resources – First the dung is sun dried and then sterilized by boiling it at 120 degrees in a sealed high-pressure boiler.
The pulp is then mixed to break up the fibers. Recycled office waste is then added for consistency, before being spread on to submerged screens to create sheets of paper. No bleaches or acids are used in the production of the paper with salt dyes used to create the beautiful colours.
The whole process is sustainable. Bore water that is used in production is then put through a filtration system so that can be reused.
Nothing is wasted. Even the small pieces of pulp paper that drop to the bottom of the tank are used to create the cut-outs which decorate our finished products.
This process takes 13 days to complete, leaving a soft, naturally textured paper. And in case you are wondering…No, it does not smell!
So here’s to the elephant an amazing tree free paper making machine, providing a clean, green, sustainable industry in rural Sri Lanka. To read more about the amazing work Maximus Elephant Dung Paper is doing have a look at Meet the Makers – Maximus