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New park benches in Amsterdam's Artis zoo are made of elephant poo

Even though they're a smaller species than their savanna cousins, Asian elephants produce a whopping 75 to 100 kg of dung daily. With four resident elephants, ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo has around 300 kg of proboscidean poop to deal with every 24 hours.

The zoo has found a destination that will extend the excrement's lifespan. Students from Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University & Research recently spent four months in the zoo's Living Lab researching the potential of elephant manure. They discovered that the dung could be pressed into a hard, wood-like material, which led to a collaboration with Circulus, a company specializing in biobased construction materials.

Together, they developed a bench that uses faux-wood planks made of 65% dung and 35% recycled plastic, and the result is both sturdy and weatherproof. (And no, it doesn't smell like poo.) ARTIS is currently testing a prototype, and if it proves successful, the zoo plans to replace all its benches with this sustainable alternative.