Poo for Paper?: Some Alternative Paper Sources

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 5:05 PM


            We all know that trees are a big part of the paper industry, but deforestation is taking a toll on the planet.  Even with efforts to replant trees it still takes a forest up to 65 years to fully grow back.  Since paper products are such a big part of our everyday lives, what are some alternate materials that can be used to make paper?

            Some great alternatives to using trees include bamboo and hemp, which both grow rapidly.  More alternatives include cotton and it's cousin keneaf, but the most interesting alternative that I remember hearing about and found more information on was elephant dung.

            Elephants have a diet containing fibrous plants and they eat 450-550 pounds of food a day and from that they produce 110 pounds of dung that can be used to make paper.  One day of dung produced by an elephant can make up to 115 sheets of paper.  But not all of us have an elephant readily available.  So are there any other animals who's dung can be used to make paper?  That answer is yes.  Really any animal that has a very fibrous diet had dung that can be made into paper.  Some of these animals include cows, horses, and donkeys.  These are all animals that we are more likely to see on a daily basis.

            Paper made from animal dung might sound a little off putting, but it's definitely an out of the box solution for the continuing problem of deforestation.   

 

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https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14112-how-long-does-it-take-a-rainforest-to-regenerate/

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