Our raw material is cow dung. We are fascinated by this material which most people find disgusting and dirty. Cow dung has unique quality and incredible properties. Everybody knows it is used as a fertilizer but as we develop our project, we keep finding out more and more of its benefits. Manure can be used to build shelter, provide energy and has an artistic value. Dung can be found in abundance, mostly left in the fields where it becomes an environmental threat when releasing green gases into the atmosphere.
We collect the dung of free grazing highlander cows and process it to develop a couple of products / materials.
We started with making beautiful hand made paper. The technique is similar to traditional paper making, only our source of fiber is thoroughly cleaned cow poo. The Poo Paper can be used with natural inks and pencils or even fed into a printer.
We later developed a mixture that can be used either for plastering walls or making building bricks. The result is strong, water proof and significantly lighter then standard bricks.
Our products are biodegradable and can be disposed of in nature, back where they came from, with no harm to the environment. We try to minimize the use of electrical power and use water from near by available natural resources such as lakes and canals. The process requires no use of complex machinery and can be achieved by anyone in any part of the world.
Yep. It was a time to bring it down. After moving the factory back and forth two times, we realised that in order to be more portable we needed to build a new one. This time the idea is to build the house from wall sections, so that it’s easy to asseble, where cow dung is to be the main building source.
According to our idea, the walls should me made out mostly of poo but should be able to survive moving the wall as whole. It needs a frame. We build small scale model of the walls frame, that we would fill up with cow dung mixture.
Here we used mix of cow dung with saw dust (5:2) and water. And tried to compress it as much as possible.
If it ever dries out we will notify you about results 😀
ah… Green grass, sun, birds flying around, gluhwein, a lot of people a lot of new ideas. That’s what comes into my mind when i think about Landen 2011. It was really inspiring experience. Once again, even though the weather was horrible for weeks, right on time for Landen it became sunny and warm. Perfect conditions for an outdoor eco festival. Of course we were present there with our latest development.
This year we decided to convince poeple visiting festival to make poo-paper themselves instead of us showing how we do it. It worked out pretty well and people realised that it isn’t quantum physics and everyone could do that. Especially kids had a lot of fun making ‘shit paper’. Apart from paper we wanted to explore and try out more things one could do with poo. To protect ourselves from wind and cold we plastered the walls with PooPlaster mixture (cow dung mixed with sand 2:1 and water). The effect was pretty awesome and we realised that Poo is in fact a great and cheap (if not free) building material. This inspired us to focus more in that direction and develop new factory where cow dung would be the main building source.
We also got a lot of feedback this year. Thank you all for that. We really needed that to motivate us to work harder on the project. You guys planted a lot of ideas in our head, and since the festival it seems that PooProject is the main thing we are occupied with.
here are some more pictures of us moving the house to the terrain and some new products we developed for the festival:
The group Het Spring came to make poo paper with us to use as a cover for their proposal of a development project for the nature reserve Twiske (located north of Amsterdam). They collected the dung from the Scottish Highlander cows that graze there.
We started working with only a roof above our head, the poo box for drying the dung we have collected, a big bath to make the paper in and a dipper bath for washing the dung. We also made a very nice press but that turned out to be not very useful for the paper making process. Maybe at later point we will be able to use it for stencil printing.. The dung was cooked in an open fire just next to the factory.
Stage 2 – The Scrap Wood Factory
Time has come to build a more stable housing around us. So off we went to look for scrap wood and abandoned building materials…
And back to work.
Stage 3 – Summer is Over
Getting ready for colder work conditions, better storage capabilities and the upcoming Landen Festival, it is time to close up our shed.
Stage 4 – Landen Festival
The Challenge of Moving the House as a whole and the final paint job.
Stage 5 – Dung Bricks and Plasterwork
Our next move will be to produce enough bricks and dung plaster to rebuild the factory as originally planned. Keep updated.
The search for the right mixture of cow dung, dirt and water in order to create a simple brick has began.
The first attempt with equal masses proved a failure..
Second mixture had 3 times the ammount of dirt, which seemed a bit too sandy- so for the following mixtures we added more cow dung, and then again more cow dung. The large form (flower pot) is the first brick made and the most sandy one, the cube form is the last one made and the moistest one.
Only thing left to do, is to wait for it all to dry. Soon an update with the resaults.
3rd July – …and we have a BRICK!
After letting our experimental metarial dry for over a week we present you first resaults:
The Bricks suprisingly look strong and solid. First two, where mixture of material was more of dirt then cow dung apear more sandy then the last one where we used more cow dung. Therefore, we go for 3rd option and scale it up to a size of real brick. Next challenge is to produce engough bricks to builid small shed (where we are planning to store more cow-dung for paper factory). In this way we’ll see if the bricks are strong enough to held roof and serve it’s purpose as wall.
Dung collected from local cows (Scotish Highlanders of the Oeverlanden reservation in Amsterdam). Then left to dry in the sun for a couple of days.
The dry dung is then washed and boiled for 5 hours. After draining the water, dung is blended to make the fiber as small as possible.
A frame with net is used to make the sheets. the first try-out turn like dry pieces of flat poo.
using less dung and more water gives better resaults, but the paper is still wrinkly and very dark.
finaly adding Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) helps with bleaching and dissinfecting the paper. A primitive pressing technic contribute to a flat and stronger paper. Flowers are added into the mixture for color nuances.
Few try out in the laser printer with the future idea to make natural ink (out of black walnuts) to use in a used inkjet printer and natural dyes (out of vegtables, earth and flowers) to use in silk screening technic.