Sunday, January 11, 2009

Save a Tree - Use Paper Made of This

Remember when a photo similar to this was circulating in an email under the heading “So you think your job stinks” or something similar. Then this photo was shown. These people are not just collecting feces before they become an unsightly mess on the bottom of someone’s shoe – they are collecting raw product for processing.

Of course, most of the raw product is not collected so close to source (if you follow my drift); but, a picture always makes such a wonderful statement always starting the creative juices flowing.

The little grey cells, after simmering for a while in thought, caused the Sri Lankan-based company Mr. Ellie Pooh to create its line of stationary and other objects from 75% elephant dung and 25% post-consumer waste – a totally new line of eco-paper.

Writing paper made almost entirely of elephant dung. It’s definitely a novel concept; but, what caused the birth of Mr. Ellie Pooh paper? The idea was born to save the elephants of Sri Lanka. Apparently, 10% of the 40,000 Asian elephants worldwide live in Sri Lanka. There they are regarded as pests and killed due to their interference with agriculture. The Sri Lankans don’t eat elephant meat and there is no major ivory trade so elephants here have become nothing more than a huge nuisance to the villager and farmers.

Just as some Americans kill wolves and other wild predators to protect livestock, Sri Lankans were killing elephants because they ruin their crops by trampling them causing financial hardship for the farmers.

Mr. Ellie Pooh hopes to change the public’s perception of elephants by proving that they can be valuable to the economy in other ways and are thus worth sparing. If Sri Lankans make an honest living creating paper for a whole new market that will support their families, they will be less inclined to kill the goose the laid the golden egg (so to speak).

Most of the raw mater is collected from elephant orphanages in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Ellie Pooh says: "Since an elephant’s diet is all vegetarian, the waste produced is basically raw cellulose. Thoroughly cleaned and processed, the cellulose is converted into a uniquely beautiful textured product, marketed as “Ellie Pooh Paper”. It makes for an acid free, linen-like papyrus-type paper".

An adult elephant creates 500 pounds of dung a day, making it a very reliable, very renewable resource. Elephant poop paper could prove to be a sustainable, lucrative boon to the Sri Lankan economy.

I really like the fact that the paper uses absolutely no trees in its creation. This will be a huge selling point to eco-minded consumers.

The poopy paper is now being sold by Pixxlz, a Massachusetts based printed products company, so expect to see more of around the US soon. If you'd like to purchase some, it’s available in numerous colors and covers and card stocks. Apparently, unless you knew what it was made from, nothing about the paper including the scent would give it away.

Here’s to the first real eco—paper.

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