import ants has branched into the world of kids’ art and craft products with the launch of a new range of eco-friendly packs made with elephant dung and recycled office paper.
two different kits are available, both produced by maximus, a sri lankan based company which provides villagers with an income and helps ensure the survival of elephants by bringing them into the economy.
the eco max craft-a-card pack is a hang sell card making kit for children with 10 blank cards and envelopes, stickers, unpainted animal shapes, oil pastels, art tips and elephant facts.
for kids who prefer to just draw there is an eco max art pack with 10 a4 sheets of elephant dung paper and jumbo oil pastels.
managing director kim good expects the kits to be popular with kids not just because they love to be creative but also because of what the product is made from.
“i know with children there’s that particular age that just loves that whole concept of it being poo,” she says. “you sort of get that five year old, six year old age and they go ‘oh elephant poo.
“elephants have always been related with children. there are so many images of them in children’s artwork and i think it’s an animal they find fascinating because it’s very large and they sort of appear to be big docile beasts. there’s that trunk of their’s that they suck water up with and i think they’ll work really well with children.”
good says people are often surprised when they hear the products are made with elephant dung.
“usually they [say] ‘really?’ and then they go ‘oh you’re joking?’ and then they want to smell it. of course it smells just like paper and then when they hear the story behind it they love the fact that it’s going back to the community and that it’s looking after the elephants.
“when it’s explained to them really an elephant’s just a living pulp mill, it does all the same things that a machine does, it eats up the leaves and the grasses and the bark and turns it into a pulped paper like product… it makes perfect sense’.”
the company is also looking at sourcing a colouring book from maximus which tells the story of the elephant and how its dung is used to make the product and help the community.
“i’d like to look at more craft items using different images, maybe frames and mobiles, all different things you can make with paper,” says good. “it’s just nice that children can learn to play with art and play with paper and experience the lovely world of imagination with the paper and still be working with something that’s recycled and ethical and just being dung paper i think they’ll really enjoy it.”