ELEPHANTastic! (3) – Much Ado About Elephant POO
This week we look into the curious lives of elephants in a special feature called “ELEPHANTastic!”
Today I bring you “Much Ado about Elephant POO”.
Elephant Poo Paper
On a visit to the Elephant Exhibition area at the Singapore Zoo, we were introduced to Elephant Poo Paper. I thought this was something I could include in this week’s feature on elephants. So I searched on the internet for the companies producing paper out of elephant poo and found a New Delhi company called “Haathi Chaap” which means “prints of the elephant”. Their website says..”that’s right, it’s paper made from Elephant Poo and we are
crazy enough to make it. In fact, we think that once you’ve had a
look around our website, you may even want some! What’s more …it’s organic and safe to use!P.S.And No, it doesn’t smell of poo. Really!”
ELEPHANT POO PAPER IN THE MAKING
The method used for making elephant dung paper is more or less the same as making other varieties of handmade paper. There are minor changes we have had to make because of the fibrous nature of the raw material. Making sure that the paper is not harmful for the papermaker as well as the user was our biggest challenge… so disinfectants are used to make the paper as bacteria free as possible.
Elephant POOPER Truths and Half Truths
- The approximately 250 kgs food eaten daily can produce upto 100 kgs of dung. Imagine how much paper can be made in a day…
- The paper is probably one of the most ecologically safe papers to make and use… Colours, if added, comprise of mostly vegetable and natural dyes. No bleach is used. The waste water is let out in cultivated fields close by… works as a great fertilizer.
- The colour of the paper depends entirely on what he/ she eats, which depends on what season of the year it is. So, from June to September, since the elephants eat jowar (sorghum) and bajra (pearl millet), the paper is darker in colour. And for the rest of the year they eat sugarcane, the paper is lighter in colour.We’ve tried to feed the elephant beetroot and tried to mix turmeric in his/her feed, hoping to get naturally coloured paper… but alas, no success there.
- An elephant’s diet is primarily vegetation. That combined with a rather inactive digestive system makes elephant dung one of the best to make paper.
Elephant Poop-Powered Zoos
The Toronto Zoo Turns Elephant Poo
into Usable Power
If you have unlimited access to it, why not use it to your advantage? At least that’s what the Toronto Zoo is trying to do by making a poop-powered zoo. There is unlimited access to large quantities of poo (think of all the rhinos and elephants, and their MASSIVE feces), so why not use it to save the environment?
The zoo is in the stages of inviting companies to create a gasification plant which would turn the 1000 tons (a day) of poo into usable electricity. So far the only poop-powered zoo (or aspiring poop-powered zoo) is the Toronto zoo, but if it proves to be successful, I can’t imagine why other zoos wouldn’t follow suit.
Read this article “Powering Homes with Poo from the Zoo”, The Globe and Mail