The books of the future could be made of elephant dung

The books of the future could be made of elephant dung. Truly. It’s an option. You can already buy paper made from the fibres in the dung of herbivores on-line. Like here at The PooPooPaper Store, where the whole idea sounds surprisingly sensible. I’m sure it’s not legal to import into Australia, but maybe one day…

So how did I end up on a website about making paper from poo? Well, the internet has a way of derailing more conservative research. We all know that. One minute I was wondering how many trees paper destroyed and the next minute wondering how the problem might be solved… and here I am. In the poo.

But it all began so innocently and cleanly when I tidied up the office and threw away some old notes, clippings and miscellaneous bits of writing that never went anywhere. It wasn’t a very satisfying pile. It reminded me that in the old days, a pile of paper meant a lot had been accomplished. Now, sometimes I feel like I’ve got nothing to show for what I did all day.

But I’ve embraced the digital revolution enthusiastically. I even wrote some code. A software program I wrote continues to chug along doing it’s job in a number of universities.  I never leave home without a swag of apps instead of paper notebooks and diaries. I’m a digital wannabe.

And I’m determined to do my small bit to save the trees.

If you’re not so inclined then check out the counters on this website The World Counts. It’s ironic that although the site itself appears to have been static for some time, the counters continue to tick over, frantically clocking the global hectare loss of wild forest and its inhabitants. A much slower clock counts replanted forest.

“Poo Paper” Steven2005 flickr.com/photos/steven2005/326765246 CC license

But I do love paper. Brightly coloured pieces of origami paper. Pages decorated with scrapbook embellishments. Cards and notes with handwritten messages, to and from. Paper is inspiring and I collect Pinterest boards full of drawing ideas, journalling, lettering, origami, paper art and sketchnoting,

I especially love paper that sits in the middle of books, covered with words and illustrations. Even better if there’s a note on the inside cover to say it was sourced in a sustainable manner.

A little googling uncovered lots of ways to make paper without murdering trees or even using the byproducts of another tree murdering process. Think agricultural byproducts (like banana stems and leaves), fast growing plants (jute and bamboo), rice paper (of course) and even elephant dung (I kid you not).

Check out this post. The Books of the Future Will be Made of Sugar, Wheat and Weed (and elephant dung).

And that’s when I wondered if someone was already selling paper made from poo. The circle is complete.

“Dung Paper 02” by pigpogm flickr.com/photos/pigpogm/275331397 CC license

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