Yes, really, elephant poo. I love when people read the back of these books, find out what they’re made from and then almost throw them back on the display in horror. I probably shouldn’t say that…but it is kinda funny.
They’re actually really nice – my parents gave me one for Christmas. I didn’t catch any diseases from it, and it doesn’t smell lol. It’s made with 75% elephant poo and 25% post consumer waste paper (recycling, yaaaay), and gets totally sterilized as it’s processed. The process is ecologically friendly as well (I swear I read that they boil the poo with some kind of leaf that totally sterilizes everything instead of using chemicals, but I can’t find that on their website so I may have imagined it. That would be a very strange thing to imagine, though).
If you’re still not convinced, then maybe the fact that Maximus has really gone out of it’s way to help rural communities in Sri Lanka will sway you. Instead of taking up the government benefits and concessions that would have come their way from setting up in an industrial zone, Maximus has brought jobs to remote areas – even though this makes the logistics and organisation of the business more difficult and expensive.
Also, they donate a percentage (no, I couldn’t find out exactly what percentage) of their profits to The Millennium Elephant Foundation, a charity which works to help captive elephants in Sri Lanka. Their website is http://millenniumelephantfoundation.com/
The books themselves are all hand-made and there are a lot of different colorful designs. As they’re made from, er, ‘all natural products’, the texture of the paper is somewhat variable. I feel like that could be a real bonus for artists – this paper would be really interesting to work with. You can also just use it to write in, though – I used mine as a journal. The only thing to watch out for is that if you sketch in pencil and then go over the top in ink, most of the ink will rub off when you rub out the pencil sketch.