Recycled paper for a sustainable future
We transform dung and cotton waste
into paper products.
We are certified Fair Trade.
And we are proud of it.
Never has the cooperation between Developed and Developing countries been so important as now. The connection between Fair Trade and the Environment is there for all to see, and for us, these two principles of the alleviation of poverty and the development of sustainable production in the South, inform everything we do.
Add to that the wish to help with human/animal conflict and you have an overview of all we do.
Cotton has many valuable properties. It is white, which means we can give clean strong colours to our products. It also has strength , which is very useful for many of our decorative products.
It is also readily available from local sources in India, as we use the side cuts from the fabric industry, the so called selvedge edges , to pulp into paper. This way, we continue our mission to recycle and to upcycle wherever we can.
The tradition of making paper from cotton, goes back a very long way in India and in fact it was Mahatma Gandhi who created the Khadi network of paper makers.
Why elephant/rhino dung?
Our first project involved paper from elephant dung, handmade in the middle of Sri Lanka. This was driven by the wish to stop people shooting elephants.
Elephants would come into villages looking for food and the local people would shoot them. It is estimated that 3 elephants and 1 human die each week in such conflict.
So, our project aims at making the population think more positively about elephants : to see them as raw material suppliers and to value them as such.
Not only that, the 4 factories bring much needed employment to a rural area.
Recently we continued this work by recycling rhino dung and so helping to protect the one-horned rhino in Assam.
It is said that the first person to realise the potential of elephant dung, was a gamekeeper in Kenya, who lived in the wild with elephants. He saw that their dung was absolutely full of fibres.
This is because they only digest 60% of what they eat. And, because they eat long fibred plants, such as banana and bamboo, their dung represents a treasure trove for papermakers. However, each batch can be different and in the summer, when they are eating more fruit, the paper can be smoother… The dung is boiled and sterilised and the fibres are extracted. From that point the papermaking process begins.
The side cut edges of cotton fabrics are collected from local fabric printers and sorted. Coloured scraps and knots are removed and the white rest is mashed into pulp.
Colour from aniline dyes is added during the mashing, to give a profound in the mass colour.
The pulp is then taken to be made into the various products we offer, including flowers, bowls and earrings.
Elecosy are supporting multiple projects, spread out over India and Sri Lanka.