Elephant Poo Paper

Friday 26 June 2015

Today, we finally did something I have been very keen to learn more of and participate in!

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The making of Thailand’s Elephant Poo Paper!

This is an incredible process that allows the poorer provinces of Thailand to make money through a sustainable process- that of an Elephant passing dung! It helps them to maintain their care of the Elephants and of the dedicated Mahouts. And here’s how they do it!

STEP ONE.

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First, collect up the dung and bring it to the Elephant Poo Paper Project Centre to be cleaned.

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STEP TWO

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Put the elephant poo into a tank of about 200 litres of water and boil for 3 – 4 hours with 3 kilograms of sodium hydroxide. Stir every hour for 4 – 6 hours. You should end up with a little something like this!

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STEP THREE

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Clean the Elephant Dung Fibres 2 – 3 times to rinse them of all the sodium hydroxide.

The best way to do this? Stick it all in a bag, turn on a hose and stomp!

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As you can see, I was loving it.

STEP FOUR

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Next, put the Elephant dung into a spinning machine and spin for 30 minutes, with some bark from the local Saa Tree.

STEP FIVE

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Now make 300g balls from your now bleached, clean Elephant poo.

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Mix into a sink of water then place a mesh frame at the bottom of the sink.

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Carefully lift the mesh frame, taking care to keep it flat and level so the dung fibres cover the mesh evenly.

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STEP SIX

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Now place the poo-filled mesh frame in the sun to dry!

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Drying will take about four hours and will result in a beautiful quality paper that can be used to make such delightful items as this!

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I was tempted to get one of those nice little piggy banks, but I’m quickly running out of space for gifts in my bag, so forced some restraint.

After my on-the-job training, I decided to take a little explore around the site of the project centre and found this…

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Hauntingly, this is an Elephant Graveyard- the only to exist in the world. It exists so the Mahouts can maintain their relationship with their beloved Elephants after passing. It stands as a testament to how much the Elephants mean to the Mahouts. It removed any doubt for me that their feelings are anything other than filled with love and respect.

It’s very moving.

 

 

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