In a time when people are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment, many people will resolve to live a greener lifestyle each new year. This can involve recycling, using less energy, investing in carbon offsets, and many other resolutions that will require consistent attention throughout the year. However, it may be easier to simply start small. Keep your resolution to “go green” by slowly making the switch to more sustainable products. These products are not only environmentally friendly; they have amazing stories behind them. Take PooPooPaper for example.
PooPooPaper was no accident. Founder Michael Flancman grew up loving the great outdoors. From canoe trips and ice hockey near Toronto, to kayaking and mountain climbing in British Columbia, “the outdoors were in my fabric,” Flancman said. This passion combined with an intrigue of business and manufacturing led Flancman on a natural course to found the Alternative Pulp and Paper Company and PooPooPaper Products.
The process from poop to paper is really quite intriguing. Basically, animals such as elephants, cows, horses, and donkeys, which have fiber-rich vegetarian diets, produce almost as much poop as the amount of food they consume. Their “digestive systems … don’t really break down the vegetation all that well, [so] their poop has plenty of fiber even after their meal is consumed.” As fibers make pulp, which makes paper, Flancman saw the possibility to make paper without the use of trees, and instead he started using animal dung. After the dung is collected, it is rinsed and boiled, then formed into paper. The whole process is a little more complex and takes a bit of time to get to the finished product, but it is fascinating to see how it is done.
What Recycled Really Means
Most products now have some sort of recycled stamp on them. Many boast that they are at least partially made from recycled material, but when it comes down to it, the recycling process can be just as bad as the creation process and the underlying product still relies on tree-based pulp. Some companies are taking part in what is often referred to as “greenwashing.”
According to Flancman that means, “the act of blatantly and intentionally misleading the public by offering a product for sale that falls well short of the purported sustainable benefits claimed or suggested.” There could not be a better definition. PooPooPaper products are the exact opposite. They are made from the fibrous waste of a variety of animals. No chlorine or bleach or other harsh chemicals are involved, and even soy-based ink is used exclusively when printing designs. While these are certainly great achievements, the company is always striving for a more efficient process.
Sustainability as Reality
The driving force behind PooPooPaper is simple, some might say even downright playful, and rightfully so. It is to create a product that is “immeasurably more sustainable than its tree pulp-based counterpart” while at the same time having fun. Really the best way to explain their motivation is to rely on the slogan: “PooPooPaper – Playfully Outrageous with an Underlying Message of Sustainability.” Not only is the company model sustainable, they donate to several non-profits committed to wild land conservation and animal protection.
Resolving to live a more sustainable lifestyle is a process. Start by supporting a company that makes sustainability their foundation. PooPooPaper strives to “spread the word of sustainability to as many people in as many places as possible through our unique, memorable, fun, educational and meaningful products.” Their goal is to spread the word; your resolution is to use a more sustainable product. Together, both goals will be met. After all, seeing the paper on the coffee table will be the constant reminder to waste less, save more, and live smart.
Meet the Writer: Scott Sery is a native to Billings, Montana, where he enjoys amazing access to the great outdoors the area has to offer. With years of wandering in the backcountry, and a love for the environment, he transfers his experiences exploring the great outdoors to guides and stories of surviving in the wilderness.