A Chinese company that makes toilet paper, napkins and facial tissue has plans to make products from an unexpected raw material: panda poop.
The China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda signed an agreement with Sichuan Qianwei Fengsheng Paper Company on Monday, allowing the latter to recycle panda feces and food debris from the center's three bases in Dujiangyan, Wolong and Bifengxia.
According to Huang Yan, a researcher from the center, an adult panda consumes 12 to 15 kg of bamboo every day and produces more than 10 kg of fiber-rich feces after absorbing the fructose in bamboo.
Pandas also produce about 50 kg of food waste daily as the bears spit out bamboo after chewing it or simply leave it uneaten. In the past, this debris and dung was discarded or used as manure mixture for fertilizer.
In order to turn bamboo into paper, it is necessary to break down fructose and extract the fiber, which the pandas are able to do through digestion, said Yang Chaolin, president of the company.
The company will collect the raw material every three to seven days. It will be boiled and pasteurized under high temperatures before being turned into household paper, according to Zhou Chuanping, the company's deputy general manager.
"It will not be used to make paper for writing now," Zhou said. "To ensure safety, the paper will undergo bacteria testing before it enters the market," said Zhou.