While we can all take steps to reduce the amount of paper that we use, it will likely never be possible to fully eliminate paper from daily life. That's why it's exciting to learn about innovative new uses for paper waste that can help to offset some of the damage that is done to the environment by cutting down trees to produce paper. The University of Colombia has proposed a very unusual use for paper waste--feeding livestock.
The University of Colombia has created a new type of feed that gets 15 percent of its content from waste paper and 85 percent of its content from traditional feed. Don't feel bad for the sheep that are being fed this food as a test--the scientists believe it will actually be beneficial for them.
image source: http://www.thecattlesite.com
In parts of Colombia, grass becomes scarce due to drought, leaving sheep, cows and other grazing animals without a source of the cellulose that animals need to be healthy. It’s cellulose that allows cows and similar animals to ferment food in their stomach, digest it and then produce energy. Clean paper waste is rich in cellulose, so the scientists believe that it can be used as a supplement for grazing. This could actually keep many animals from starving or suffering from health problems.
The University of Colombia is testing the feed with 300 small to medium sized Colombian farms in an area of the country where droughts are common and grazing conditions are often poor. It will be interesting to see what comes of the test. Who knows? One day, livestock animals all over the world might be eating a paper-rich diet.
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