October 3, 2008

Elephant Pooh Paper Doesn't Stink

When I first heard the news about paper made from elephant poop, I thought something stinky was up. But Ellie Pooh, a socially conscious company in Sri Lanka has turned the largest mammal on earth's pooping regimen (an elephant poops up to 16 times daily, producing 500 pounds of poop, for those of you who are curious), into a serious business.

1/10th of the world's Asian elephants call Sri Lanka their home. Here, they are often killed for interfering with agricultural practices. Man and elephant are finding it increasingly difficult to co-exist in small farming communities, and one way the community is trying to turn the tide on the conflict is by turning the elephant's poop into a sustainable commodity. Click here to read more about the issue. Ellie Pooh paper is not only saving the lives of elephant's, it is providing an income for local artisans of Sri Lanka.

In case you're wondering how exactly poo becomes paper, here's some background info:

"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 Pachyderm Paper. This acid free, linen-like papyrus-type paper can be formed into art and construction projects, notebooks, cards and assorted gift items where the only limitation is ones imagination. These products have proved extremely popular among many in the local population and among foreign tourists."

Grab some Ellie Pooh paper from the Global Exchange Fair Trade online store for your kids, and then they can honestly use the excuse, "An elephant pooped on my homework." I have so many more jokes on this matter up my sleeve, but I'll refrain! I'm just glad that the elephants are getting the last laugh.

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