|Yes, it's true! Our business cards are printed on paper made from elephant poo. I know it's a little disgusting but c'mon, you've got to admit that's pretty cool. Ralph our art director has a paper fetish and is always on the hunt for unusual paper. It is made in India by our new best friend Mahima and crew. Here is his story if you want to learn more.
"The first time I confronted an elephants rear end, paper was the last thing on my mind!
This is how it happened a few years ago. Vijendra, our paper producer, wanted to take me to a little shrine atop a hill near Jaipur. The weather was fine, and we decided to walk. But when we reached the foot of the hill, we realized most pilgrims preferred to go up on elephant back. So there we were, two pygmies trudging up, with large pachyderm behinds and swinging tails around us. There was dry elephant dung underfoot, and suddenly, it struck us how similar it looked to the raw fibre from which we made paper.
We ended up collecting a bit of a crowd
a result of pointing excitedly towards piles of poo. Even the prospect of having to collect vast quantities of odiferous dung did not seem to faze Vijendra. So we performed several experiments too disgusting for a polite audience, and eventually came up with usable sheets of paper made of elephant dung.The paper was christened Haathi Chaap, meaning "Prints of the Elephant".
Thus started a journey of the most unusual kind
people have looked at us and our elephant dung paper with amusement, disgust, interest and mild irritation. We hope you have as much fun experiencing our paper as much as we had in making it. For us, the journey has been so fascinating that I will never look at poo the same way again!"
Some interesting facts:
The approximately 551 lbs food eaten daily can produce upto 220 lbs of dung. Imagine how much paper can be made in a day
The paper is probably one of the most ecologically safe papers to make and use
Colors, if added, comprise of mostly vegetable and natural dyes. No bleach is used. The waste water is let out in cultivated fields close by... works as a great fertilizer.
Weve tried to feed the elephant beetroot and tried to mix turmeric in his/her feed, hoping to get naturally coloured paper
but alas, no success there.
The color of the paper depends entirely on what he/ she eats, which depends on what season of the year it is. So, from June to September, since the elephants eat jowar (sorghum) and bajra (pearl millet), the paper is darker in color. And for the rest of the year they eat sugarcane, the paper is lighter in color.
An elephants diet is primarily vegetation. That combined with a rather inactive digestive system makes elephant dung one of the best to make paper.