Panda Poop Paper Making Tradition Revived In China

For eons, pandas have been the dead weight of the conservation movement. Cute, cuddly, and inarguably roly-poly(until they kill you?) Certainly. But what have they done for us lately? Frankly, at this point, they seem like a natural first choice for next year's fad superfood.

Or they did, until Liu Xiaodong helped them pull themselves up by their bootstraps and start contributing to society. How? Simple. He started harvesting their feces and turning it into stationery, like any of us would've done given enough time and pandas.

Liu's paper, according to the Xinhau Chinese news service, is the result of years of experimentation, stemming from a traditional paper making process that originated around 2,000 years ago. By combining panda excrement with kiwi vines and mulberry bark, he can make a product so smooth it feels like "writing on a piece of silk."

Pooper mache

The end result is a specialty paper made specifically for calligraphy, with enthusiasts reportedly ecstatic about its "natural color and soft texture." While it isn't for sale yet due to the small quantities that have been created so far, Liu has started a museum in his village of Qiliang dedicated to the art of making pooper. Pa-poo. Bamb-poo. Poo-nda paper. Liu was quoted as saying that he would pay people to learn the craft, which involves rinsing the panda waste (and then, one hopes, your hands) before beating it, combining it with the other components, and then screening it and allowing it to dry.

This labor of love marks the first time in recent history that panda mess has been utilized in the creation of calligraphy paper. The outlet notes that, counterintuitively enough, other companies have been using panda droppings to make toilet paper for some time. So that's something to talk about at the dinner table tonight, anyway.