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Thursday, December 8, 2016

How to make paper from elephant dung.

This is an interesting write-up on waste to wealth,how to turn elephant dung into high quality paper.Kenyan entrepreneur John Matano it is all about what comes out of the other end of the world’s largest land mammal. The 58-year-old collects elephant dung that he turns into high quality paper, and for a continuing supply of dung, he very much wants Kenya’s elephants to remain alive and well. People might be a bit sniffy about the thought of elephant droppings being turned into paper,but the fact is its a small but growing industry in the East African country. There are 17 firms now involved, according to official government figures. “If you ask me ‘is paper from elephant dung of reasonable quality?’, the answer is a big yes,” says Mr Matano, whose business Nampath Paper employs 42 people, and makes an annual profit of 2.3m Kenyan shillings ($23,000; £15,700). Kenya’s elephant dung paper industry is centred on the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary, a community-owned 36 sq km (14 sq mile) conservation area for elephants, 28 miles (45km) south west of the coastal city of Mombasa. Making the paper started as a pilot project in 1994, before commercialisation began a decade later when local farmers such as Mr Matano set up their own paper-making businesses. The sanctuary itself was established in 1993 both to help elephants, but also to assist 200 or so local farmers. The farmers had for generations had to put up with elephants from the nearby government-owned Shimba Hills National Reserve walking into their farmlands and eating or destroying crops. This resulted in serious and sometimes deadly conflicts between humans and elephants. Mr Matano says that making paper from elephant dung “is not complicated at all, it is an easy affair”. The faeces, which are full of grass and other plant fibre that has been broken down by the elephant’s digestive system, is first thoroughly washed. “After washing, clean fibres remain,” says Mr Matano. “Then the fibre is boiled for four hours in a vat to thoroughly ensure it is clean. “Then after that, much of the process is similar to that of making regular paper [from wood pulp].” Mr Matano adds: “An average elephant eats 250kg of food each day. Out of that amount about 50kg of dung is produced, and 125 sheets of [A4] paper can be produced from each 50kg.” He says that both the price and quality is similar to standard paper, but with the added benefit of reducing deforestation. The business is very rewarding,according