From the Globe and Mail, March 27, 2007
China finds new source of paper: Yikes, Panda poop
There's a new Chinese saying, When life hands you panda poop make paper.
Researchers at a giant panda reserve in southern China are looking for paper mills to process their surplus of fibre-rich panda excrement into high quality paper.
Liao Jun a researcher at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Base in Sichuan province, said that the idea came to them after a visit to Thailand last year where they found paper made from elephant dung.
They thought panda poop would produce an even finer quality paper, he said.
The base is currently in talks with several paper mills on how to turn the droppings of Jing Jing, Ke Bi, YaYa and dozens of other pandas at the base into reams of office paper and rolls of wrapping paper, Mr Liao said.
They hope to have a product line available by next year, he said.
"We are not interested in doing this for the profits but to recycle the waste," Mr. Liao said.
"It's environmentally friendly. We can use the paper ourselves and also we can sell whatever is left over," he added.
Mr. Liao said he was not sure how much paper could be made from the 1.8 tonnes of droppings produced by the centre's 40 bamboo fed pandas every day.
What about squeamish customers who might consider the paper unsanitary?
"People won't find it gross at all," Mr. Liao said. "They probably won't even be able to tell it's from panda poop."