Elephant poo gets a profitable makeover

It is waste management on a jumbo scale. Elephant dung which otherwise would have gone waste gets transformed into paper of various hues at Athulya, a unit imparting job skills to differently abled students hailing from estate lanes.

Paper bags, envelopes, writing pads, and covers made of dung fibre paper stand testimony to the skill set of students.

The unit makes 500 to 1,000 paper sheets a month depending on the availability of the raw material. Though the price of the paper is bit high, it has many takers. Visitors to Munnar, especially foreigners, purchase them.

There is no compromise on the quality of the paper. Colour sheets are made adding the respective dye. “The differently abled students were given training by foreign tutors,” an official at Athulya said. Athulya is a unit under DARE (Developmental Activities in Rehabilitative Education) project.

“Workers collect elephant dung from forests or tea plantations. The dung is cleaned, disinfected, and processed to make the fibre raw material,” said the official.

Thailand is said to have pioneered the art of making paper from…

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