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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Original solution for zoo waste
An elephant at Paignton Zoo
The zoo animals' manure is matured for up to a year
South West gardeners are being offered the chance to spread a little elephant, rhino and giraffe on their roses.

The animals at Paignton Zoo produce more than 800 tonnes of nutrient rich animal manure every year and the Zoo has come up with an original way of disposing of it.

The waste is being matured for between nine and 12 months and the end result is being sold as compost called Zoo Poo.

Produced in partnership with leading UK independent composters EcoSci, Zoo Poo is a natural, organic compost made from herbivorous animal manure, straw and garden waste.

'Jumbo boost'

The heat generated during the maturation process kills any weed seeds and pathogens and the end result is a slow-release compost which does not smell.

"Zoo Poo is good for vegetables, soft fruit, roses, shrubs, trees and lawns," said Stephen Bullock from EcoSci.

"The longer maturation process makes it a really effective compost.

"One of the reasons why Zoo Poo is so good is that elephants only use 60% of the nitrogen in their diet.

"This means their dung is naturally nitrogen-rich, which gives plants a jumbo boost."

EcoSci was started in 1994 and today composts some 40,000 tonnes of green waste in Devon alone, 50% of the county's recycling target.

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