Lieske Schreuder makes brightly colored threads and tiles out of snail excrement. She feeds a farm of hundreds of snails colored paper, and they poop out little colored pellets of snail excrement: Their digestive system is perfectly happy with paper (because it’s similar enough to their normal plant-based diet) but doesn’t process the pigment. It’s a very particular and surprisingly appealing form of recycling.
There are a few important questions here. The first: Where would anyone get the idea to buy hundreds of snails and feed them colored paper? Apparently the whole project started when Schreuder noticed that a “plague of snails in the garden” had a fondness for paper and cardboard. The second: How do you get from snail excrement to snail thread? Schreuder had to design a special machine that, given enough snail poop, can grind it down and then press it into the proper shapes.
And the third: What would a person do with a bunch of tiles and thread made from snail poop? That part is not quite clear, but — hey, it’s brightly colored snail poop! We can let some details slide.
Snail Poo Makes Weird and Wonderful New Material, Inhabitat.