Researchers have now found a unique way of making paper… and it does not involve cutting of trees
It is a well known fact that the paper industry is responsible for cutting of millions of trees globally every year. Unfortunately, we do not have a more environment-friendly alternative for paper, so there is little we can do about it.
However, researchers at the University of Vienna have come up with a unique way to produce paper that does not involve cutting of trees. They are making paper out of animal poop!
Grazing animals eat a lot of grass and other plants. This means that their waste also contains a lot of cellulose. In areas with lots of farm animals or elephants, reusing their waste is a good way to get rid of this agricultural waste and produce paper in a cheap and environmentally friendly way.
How are they doing it?
To go from dung to a finished paper product, the manure is first treated with sodium hydroxide. This treatment removes lignin, which can be reused as fertilizer or fuel, and other impurities.
The material is bleached with sodium hypochlorite to remove the rest of the lignin and to make white pulp for paper. This cellulose then needs minimal grinding to break it down into the nanofibers necessary for paper production.