When I first heard about Sheep Poo Paper, I was immediately intrigued. Paper made out of Sheep sh*t? Now that’s got to be interesting. I thought it was a brilliant business idea though. After all, sheep is ubiquitous in Wales (there are some 12 million Sheep, and only 3 million people), so you can imagine the amount of excrement that is produced everyday. What then can one do with all this sh*t? Besides perhaps making fertiliser, there is really no good use of sheep crap, till these guys came along, and decided that one could make paper out of poo, and even earn money from doing so.
We made our way to a small paper mill in the middle of a quarry near Snowdonia to watch the production of Sheep Poo Paper. It turns out that the entire production of the paper is done, almost completely by hand, by Lez, with occasional help from his wife and his daughter, while his business partner, Lawrence, a former lawyer, focuses on the legal matters and marketing. The paper mill produces 50 sheets of paper a day, which is then sent to be pressed and printed on with vegetable dye.
The poo is first collected, boiled to disinfect germs, then washed in the washing machine to complete the sterilising process. The produce is then mashed and mixed with recycled paper, and poured into a mould to create the paper. Remember the days of making paper using mashed old newspaper? This paper is made the same old-school way by hand:
Sheep Poo Paper can be made into letters, postcards, greeting cards, and the best product, in my opinion, the Sheep Poo Paper air freshener. I simply love the irony.
Besides paper, Sheep Poo can also be made into a brick:
and a Poo Canoe:
Imagine floating around in sheep poo. Lez’s and Lawrence’s initial intention for making the boat was to raise money for charity.
Making paper out of poo, however, was not an original idea. The idea stemmed from Roo Poo Paper of Australia, and the techniques were learnt from the producers of elephant poo paper in Thailand. That said, I personally feel that the humour connected to the Sheep Poo Paper brand makes it more memorable than the other two.
Though I did not have the opportunity to attempt some paper-making, the chance to learn the workings behind the business coupled with Lez’s sense of humour (we did not have the chance to meet Lawrence) made the visit worthwhile.
Most unfortunately, regular tourists will not be able to visit the paper mill as the folks at Creative Paper Wales currently do not have a visitor centre and are still working on getting one. But if you’re keen on getting some Sheep Poo Paper of your own, you can purchase them online, and also at their a-few-hundred retailers around the UK.
Now who wants some Sheep Poo Paper?
I went to Wales to accompany 6 travel bloggers from around Asia as part of The Great Welsh Showdown, a Visit Britain initiative to introduce the beauty of Wales to the blogosphere.