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Mr. Ellie Pooh
What do you think the beautiful notebooks to the right are made from? Is it ordinary paper? Recycled paper maybe? Not exactly. It's made from recycled - are you ready - elephant poop.
It looks kind of nice, doesn't it? If you didn't know what it was made of,
would you think, hey, I'll write on that! Knowing that it's made from poop,
would you still consider buying it?
Here's the really cool thing about the paper and the company that makes it. Mr. Ellie Pooh , a New York based company, is doing great things for the people of Sri Lanka and for the dwindling elephant population there. The elephants are being killed, not by poachers for their tusks, not for their meat or hides, but by angry farmers. The elephants are interfering with agriculture. Their roaming space continues to shrink and they are getting in the way of farming.
The Story of Mr.Ellie Pooh
Nobody likes a herd of stray elephants pooping on their front lawn...or back field. Clean up is a major, nasty task and well, it's not great for the crops. So Mr. Ellie Pooh, found a solution that allows the elephants do their business and makes the farmers happy.
The elephant needs to become an economic asset to the people of Sri Lanka. So what can an elephant bring to the table? The average elephant produces around 500lbs. of waste per day. Elephant dung is primarily cellulose, because they are vegetarians. It can be cleaned and processed into a linen quality paper for use in notebooks, greeting cards and craft project paper.
Now jobs are hard to come by these days, but would you want to be the collector of the materials for this paper? I'm sure there are worse jobs, though I can't think of any at this very moment. Still, this new industry in Sri Lanka is creating fair paying jobs with a completely green company.
This paper may not be the complete solution to the clash between farmers and elephants in Sri Lanka, but it is making some progress in protecting elephants by giving them economic value.
Want to try out some paper from Mr. Ellie Pooh? It is available at many zoo gift shops. I spotted it at Connecticut's own Beardsley Zoo and had the pleasure of speaking with a representative from Mr. Ellie Pooh at the Bronx Zoo’s recent Earth Day celebration. After viewing their line of products, I have to admit: I am sold! The paper, notebooks and scrapbooks are truly lovely. My 9-year-old daughter brought some to school and had fun sharing what she had learned with her class and letting everyone get a “feel” of the poop paper. Of course, they had to smell it too, but found there was no foul odor to be detected.
If you would like to support the efforts of Mr. Ellie Pooh, check out their website for a buyers guide and directory of stores that carry their products.