Paper made from Elephant Dung

Did you know paper can be made from elephant dung?

 Indeed it can. 

I learned all about it earlier this month at the Pinnawala Elephant Dung Paper Products center in Sri Lanka.

 Elephants apparently have very inefficient digestive systems. 

 They eat tons of plant material (literally), but much of it goes straight through them. That is, after being chewed and pulverized in their stomachs (essentially beaten like one beats paper in a paper beater or blender). So paper-makers gather elephant dung, boil out the "impurities,"rinse the fibers, 

 beat the fibers (as I mentioned, the elephant got this process started in its stomach) using traditional paper-making beater machines, 

dye the fibers, 

 and strain them through moulds just like I do with my handmade paper.

 The paper-makers let the paper dry on the mould and then, depending on the desired texture, either leave the paper as is (rough) or ring it through a paper press.

 Then craftswomen and men make the paper into all sorts of handmade goodies: journals, stationary, picture frames, etc.

Who knew that *waste* could be so useful, interesting and lead to such crafty goodness?

So there's a *fresh* perspective on recycling for you.

(Note: did I really just write that and leave it for the world to see?)

Back to cleaner subjects next post.