New plan for paper made from panda poop gets rolling
Just another example of how one panda's poop is another man's profit.
Giant panda reserves in Southwest China said they are cooperating with a paper company to process their piles of fiber-filled panda feces into napkins, tissues and toilet paper.
Sichuan Qianwei Fengsheng Paper Co has struck deals with three bases in Sichuan Province to collect their waste on a weekly basis to mass produce its "panda poo" product line.
"They're taking care of our garbage for us," said Huang Yan, a researcher at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) in Dujiangyan, Sichuan Province.
Huang explained their roly-poly partners pass more than 10 kilograms of excrement a day. While poop is part of the deal, Huang explains most of the recyclable waste comes from the 50 kilograms of bamboo husks pandas produce a day.
"Taking take care of it is rather time-consuming," said Huang.
By digesting the bamboo's sugars and nutrients, pandas are basically extracting their fibers free of charge, explained Yang Chaolin, the company's chairman.
"Pandas get what they want and we do too. It's a win-win," said Yang.
Once collected, the feces and other waste is washed, steamed and further disinfected to ensure it meets safety standards.
The tissues, marketed as "panda poo" tissues, sell for 43 yuan (.6) a box.
This deal is long in the making. For years, Sichuan panda bases have long sought paper mills to help process their loads of panda poop.
Liao Jun, a researcher at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Base, told AP back in 2007 that the base was already in talks with several mills.
Liao told reporters he got the idea when he came across paper from elephant dung while on a trip to Thailand. The country's Chiang Mai Zoo also sells paper made from the poop produced by its two pandas.