elephant dung

a few weeks ago, i received a card in the mail.  the card was made of elephant dung.  (thanks sarah for thinking of me when you saw a card made of elephant dung. thanks also for the funny dung related commentary (use your imagination) that made me laugh)

here are a few facts about elephant dung...
1. on average, an elephant will eat 200 - 250 kg of food a day.  this produces 50 kg of dung.
2. one elephant produces enough dung to make 115 sheets of paper per day. 
3. an elephant's dung is made of fiber.  elephants don't digest their food well and over 50% of what they eat comes straight out the other end. 

i was interested in finding out more about the process of making paper from elephant dung.  so i looked up some info and found out the following...

mr. wanchai is the inventor of elephant dung paper.  while visiting the elephant conservation in thailand, he saw piles and piles of elephant dung and noticed that it is fibrous.  he believed he would be able to make it into paper.  so he filled his car with elephant dung and brought it home.  in order to make the fibrous strands shorter, he used his food processor to blend it.  his wife got tired of him bringing home elephant dung and gave him an ultimatum: either stop bringing home dung and concentrate on your job or stop bringing home dung and make elephant dung paper full time.  he chose the latter.  

a quote from mr. wanchai, "thai elephants have helped many generations of thais and they continue to provide many jobs for the ordinary people like me. it might be just plain dung to most but to me every time a ball drops it is another opportunity to help them. one man's or elephant's trash is another's treasure-where there is muck there is money."

the elephant dung paper is a little bit hard to write on.  the fibers aren't very smooth.  but aside from that, every time i touched the paper, i couldn't help but think of elephant dung.  the informational sheet about elephant dung paper assured me that it is bacteria free and clean, but my hands still felt dirty every time i touched it.