What do you imagine yourself doing when you retire? Go on a holiday, perhaps? Lay on the beach, sip on a margarita, kick back and relax? What about trying your hand at invention?
Liu Xiaodong used to teach for a living. Now retired, he lives in Zhouzi county, Shaanxi province. In his spare time, he makes writing paper from panda dung, mulberry tree bark, and kiwifruit tree vines, People’s Daily reports. All three ingredients are commonly found in the area.
Liu invested all his savings into inventing this new type of paper. It took him two years and ten different attempts before he finally found success.
Nowadays, he runs a workshop where he teaches curious people his environmentally-friendly method of making paper, in order to pass on this technique to the next generation when he is gone.
When interviewed, Liu explained the genius behind his paper, CCTV News reports. A panda’s diet mainly consists of bamboo, meaning that its feces are high in fiber. This high fiber content gives the paper a really nice texture and color, as well as a scent that is similar to bamboo (rather than crap).
This isn’t the first time someone has used panda dung to develop a new product. In 2012, a former calligraphy teacher (yes, another former teacher) used panda poop as fertilizer for growing tea leaves. Supposedly, it was to imbue the tea leaves with “unique nutritional and anti-oxidant properties.” Costing around 200,000 RMB per pound, those tea leaves should be significantly more expensive than Liu’s new writing paper.
By Christopher Shi
[Images via People’s Daily]