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The Thai Elephant Conservation Center houses 49 elephants of its own and cares for many others in the Hospital. The TECC would have a huge hygiene problem coping with elephant dung - dung is the polite, everyday word for elephant excrement - if not for its clever utilization of the waste material. Many hundreds of kilograms of dung are collected daily and then processed in a state-of-the-art biogas plant. The methane gas produced as a byproduct is used both for cooking fuel and for generating electricity. Some of the solid waste is, after composting, processed into various kinds of organic fertilizer.

Much of the remaining fiber is turned into paper using an elaborate procedure almost exactly the same as that used to produce Thailand's traditional mulberry paper, called kradaat saa. The paper has a coarse texture found very attractive by many designers. Our paper is bleached using only a relatively innocuous chemical, hydrogen peroxide, rather than the environmentally destructive chlorine bleach used in many other places.

Visitors can witness the whole process from start to finish, because various batches are at each key stage every day. The final result is not just beautiful plain paper but also subtly dyed papers. Much of the paper is made into artfully designed and crafted souvenirs such as picture frames, diaries, and photo albums. All of these items are available at the adjoining gift shop. Artists and graphic designers from all over the world order paper from the TECC-s dung paper operation.

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