Give some people lemons and they will make lemonade. For the founders of the Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company, give them elephant, cow, horse or panda droppings, and they will make stationery. With the belief that products should fit into a cycle of responsibility and sustainability, the Company fashions tasteful paper products from the less than tasteful leavings of fiber-munching animals. Beginning by using elephant dung as their material of choice, the company intended to raise money and awareness for pachyderm well-being as well as provide jobs for those living in communities near parks and reserves.

Paper from panda poo

The paper itself is made from dried dung pulp, a substance generally high in fibrous materials.  After collection, the poo is rinsed, leaving only the bamboo, fruits and veggies that the animal has consumed. The remains are boiled for sterilization, and color is added. Then, pulp from bamboo, banana trees and pineapples are mixed in to bolster the mush and to produce strength and thickness. The wet pulp is separated into flat cakes and pressed against screens which are left out in the sun to dry naturally.

Poo from bamboo

As a bamboo store with a sense of humor, there was no way that Bambu Batu could pass up the opportunity to carry their line of Panda Poo Poo paper. Each journal or tablet features a graphic of panda nibbling on a piece of what will soon become material for the most unique paper product you will ever own. After all, panda poo is the end result of just one thing: bamboo. Indeed, bamboo comprises about 98% of the panda bear diet.

When we talk about panda poo, what we’re really dealing with is processed bamboo. Instead of pulping the woody bamboo stalks with harsh chemicals in a factory, the panda uses a natural process based on millions of years of evolution. It’s begins with some very thorough chewing.

Pandas have the ferocious, sharp teeth of carnivores, and yet they eat almost nothing but grass. Once in a while they might catch a small rodent, but the vast majority of their sustenance is purely vegetarian. Still, the woody culms of bamboo make for a meal to reckon with. So they prefer the softer young shoots and leaves of the bamboo plant, but still, they’ll eat the whole thing.

From there, the panda’s belly runs like a well oiled machine, to generate an end product available nowhere else: soft bamboo pulp in its most organic condition. The organic matter could make great fertilizer, but being so rich and fibrous, it’s actually the ideal substance for paper making.

Further reading

To learn more about the fascinating lives of pandas and the profound usefulness of their poop, check out some of these other stimulating articles.