Waste-chain innovation: Animal Dung Paper
Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on June 23rd, 2010
From “From Muck to Riches: Waste-Chain Innovation in India” by Anna da Costa:
In recent years, elephant dung has grown in popularity as a niche substrate for paper that avoids the felling of trees. It is now used in a variety of countries, including Sri Lanka, Thailand, South Africa and India. Not only is it environmentally sound and based on a free material from Jaipur’s significantly sized elephant herd, but the paper can be sold at a premium. The dung is collected from stables around Jaipur. It is then washed thoroughly in a tank of water. The waste water from this stage is rich with nutrients, and goes to local farmers for use as an effective natural fertiliser. Meanwhile, the remaining fibre is cooked with salt for four to five hours to soften and clean it further and then washed in hydrogen peroxide to ensure that no bacteria remain. The dung is then dried in the sun and any non-usable fibre removed by hand.
Today, it is not just elephant-dung paper that has made it onto the market. Mahima Mehra (Haathi Chaap) is experimenting with camel muck, while Scandinavians are making elk-dung paper and an Australian company is experimenting with kangaroo waste. This story is one of an increasing number around India inspiring hope in the potential for waste-chain innovation and the creation of green jobs, where waste and recycling are predicted to become two of the next economic-boom areas for India.
Read the full article by Anna da Costa.