The Bank of Guam’s Holiday Gift: Made with Love from Natural and Recycled Materials in Kosrae

In 2017, the Bank of Guam celebrated 45 years as “The People’s Bank.”

For the Bank of Guam, this is not just a tagline — it’s the founding principle the bank was built upon and it’s what drives them forward today. Their legacy is to strengthen and support the communities that they serve, empowering local individuals and organizations to transform our world for the better.

That is why they decided to partner with Green Banana Paper, a community-based social enterprise and Bank of Guam customer in Kosrae, to create the sustainable and reusable sleeve you received for the holidays. And it’s why the bank has opted to evolve its annual giving tradition by making a contribution to charitable organizations in order to make the holidays a little bit brighter for our friends and neighbors who are less fortunate. 

Here at Green Banana Paper, we create recycled banana paper by combining natural fibers extracted from freshly harvested banana trees with recycled paper from the Bank of Guam branch in Kosrae. The concept and design for the sleeve was created in collaboration with the Bank of Guam and Holstee, a mission-driven design company.

Each sheet of paper was hand-printed, cut and sewn to create the reusable sleeves, as well as the small cards containing our story. In total, 1,500 hours of work was dedicated to this project, benefiting over 20 local artisans, subsistence farmers and their families.

Green Banana Paper manufactures a variety of unique products including wallets, greeting cards and plenty more. Our goal is to expand our network of business partners as our company continues to grow here in Micronesia. Click here for information about our wholesale program, private labeling options, custom designed corporate gifts and personalized business cards; you may contact us here if you’d like to explore a collaboration project of your own!

The Making of the Bank of Guam Sleeve

Unlike hardwood fruit-bearing trees, banana plants only fruit once in their lifetime.

When the bananas are ripe, farmers must chop down the entire stem so that a younger offshoot can grow from the self-replicating stem. These stems are then brought to our factory where we extract the individual fibers.

The fibers are dried using the natural energy of the sun until they're ready to be chopped up into small pieces for making paper.

Making handmade banana paper

To create the mixed banana paper, we take the natural fibers from freshly harvested banana trees and combine them with recycled paper from the Bank of Guam branch in Kosrae. The raw materials are combined in a vat where the paper makers use large wooden frames with fine mesh screens to create each sheet of handmade paper.

Next, we took the design created by Holstee and turned it into a silkscreen print. The print was then painted with eco-friendly acrylic ink onto the banana paper.

Our talented artisans cut-and-sewed together each sleeve by hand.

Collaborating with Bank of Guam and Holstee has been a very positive experience for all of us here at Green Banana Paper. We hope you love the gift as much as we enjoyed making it.

Want to see how we make other products from banana trees? Watch the video below!