How Is Elephant Dung Paper Made?
All of our elephant dung paper items are produced by the Maximus Elephant Conservation Trust. As you can already imagine, all their paper starts off as elephant dung. Generally, an adult elephant can produce up to 200 kg per day, so elephant dung is a commodity that can easily be acquired.
Since elephants are herbivorous animals, the waste they produce is as close to raw cellulose as possible. Depending on an elephant’s age and diet, each piece of paper has a totally unique colour and texture. The colour of the paper comes from the food these animals consume: Coconut, Kitul or Jak. Just the same, the level of coarseness depends on the elephant’s age, as this influences their ability to chew the food. As you can imagine, older elephants tend to have bad teeth; thus, the fibre will be only half-digested, giving the paper a rough texture.
The process of making elephant dung paper is a little different to making regular handmade paper. Thoroughly collected, the elephant dung is then vigorously boiled with margosa leaves, which are a natural disinfectant. After sterilisation, it is mixed with 25% recycled paper, resulting a beautiful and unique range of products. As we mentioned above, the coarseness and shade of the paper are entirely dependent on the elephant's’ diet, making each sheet as unique as the elephant that produced it.
Buying and using elephant dung paper means that you are actively contributing to improving the outlook for the majestic elephants of Sri Lanka. Our producers are a wonderful small charity that cares for sick, old and disabled elephants. The foundation is also working hard to resolve the conflict between elephants and local communities, a critical concern as the elephants' natural habitat decreases and they turn to eating farmers' crops.
Last but not least, the elephant dung paper is acid-free, being manufactured in an ecologically safe manner. Being a Fair Trade organisation, Maximus Elephant Conservation Trust is committed to the ideal of sustainable development and the health and well-being of humans, animals and the environment.