Green Banana Paper is an exciting social impact company from one of the most remote islands in the world, Kosrae, Micronesia. We create sustainable and ethical vegan wallets and handmade papers from recycled banana trees. We are available for follow-up, interview and further questions. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a message here.
|Name||Green Banana Paper|
|Address||PO Box 1013, Kosrae, FM 96944|
|Country||Federated States of Micronesia|
|Phone||+011 691 370 6772|
We are creating a great opportunity for subsistence farmers to earn extra income from unwanted banana tree trunks. At our sustainable small-scale factory, our goal is to directly employ and train as many local artisans as we can. With 25 staff as of November 2019, we are one of the biggest private companies on the island.
We do our best to provide a comfortable, safe and professional work environment. Staff have flexible 1-hour lunch breaks where they relax and eat together by the beach or in our thatch-roofed rest house. We do safety training for all new employees, with a fully-stocked first aid kit and fire extinguishers at hand. Fresh drinking water is available and electric fans are provided for everyone. Our factory has good lighting, safe electricity, and clean bathrooms as well. We pay our staff two to five times the minimum wage as we want our employees to have savings and not just a living wage. We also try to be flexible for the constant cultural and family obligations of our staff. Company policies are posted in the factory for personal leave, sick leave, employee discounts, expectations, safety and privacy.
Downloadable .jpg photos of our Staff (Click or Right Click - Save Link As...)
Our mission is to utilize only our most sustainable and abundant local resources to be a leading example of responsible economic development that does not cause harm to the environment.
The factory was designed to use the natural elements of the island to create an enjoyable and eco-friendly work environment. The trade winds gently dry fibers; the roof catches rainwater stored in catchment tanks; fallen coconuts are burned for boiling fibers; a gray-water system neutralizes the pH of the water after washing the fibers; the papers are sun-dried and stored in simple presses before a creative team makes the finished products.
Materials: 1,000,000lbs (453,000kg) of discarded banana trees have been recycled. The wallets are 99% organic and biodegradable. Read more about our material here.
Waste: Green Banana Paper is striving toward a closed loop manufacturing process. The waste from the banana trees is put into a compost pile until it decomposes enough to fertilize our small fruit farm. Off-cuts and paper scraps are recycled and transformed back into the original fibers with almost zero waste.
Small trash items from our factory such as tape, old brushes, empty ink bottles, etc. are brought to the municipal dump operated by our State government each Friday. We make a point to emphasize environmental awareness and stewardship by keeping a clean factory and discussing the impact of plastics and others.
Energy: We use the sun and wind to dry fibers and papers, fallen coconuts to fuel the fire in the boiling process, and the laws of physics as much as possible. We have four small electric motors powering our extractor and beaters which consume minimal energy from our State's power grid which is powered by a combination of 30% solar and 70% diesel generators.
Chemicals: In papermaking, it is essential to boil the fibers in an alkaline solution with a pH of 10-11 in order to de-lignify the cellulose and create strong, long-lasting, archival quality papers. This requires the use of NaCo2 also known as Soda Ash, which we import. We built a special grey-water system to ensure that the leftover water from this process slowly re-enters the ground. Our factory is built over sandy/coral ground which is naturally pH 10-11 and not used for growing food.
To decorate our wallets and papers, we use water-based acrylic ink which adheres wonderfully to the paper and doesn't cause harm to the environment during clean-up. Additionally, to assemble our wallets we use industrial sewing machines for strong, long-lasting products. In stark contrast with the leather industry, these are the only chemicals used in our entire process.
Downloadable .jpg photos of Matt Simpson (Click or Right Click - Save Link As...)
|July 2008||Matt Simpson moved to Kosrae to teach social studies as a volunteer with WorldTeach.|
|May 2012||Matt's first time to learn about banana fiber, hatching an idea that he would obsess over for the next 5 years.|
|May 2014||Leased land & built the factory designed to create ethical work conditions and environmental responsibility. (1 staff)|
|November 2014||Began processing banana trees, taro stems and pineapple leaves for their fibers. (3 staff)|
|February 2015||Started making paper for the first time. Everything was learned from google, youtube, books and a lot of trial and error. (5 staff)|
|October 2015||First wallet prototypes tested extensively, redesigned for durability. Significant period of research and development. (10 staff)|
|June 2016||We receive widespread media attention at the Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture on Guam. (14 staff)|
|February 2017||First time we offer our products for sale online. Launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise awareness. (18 staff)|
|March 2017||Successfully raised 250% of our Kickstarter goal for Green Banana Paper Wallets. (21 staff)|
|May 2017||Reinvested Kickstarter funds, purchased new equipment and hired 4 new staff. (23 staff)|
|June 2017||Men's wallets launch on Amazon.com with Prime 2-day shipping (24 staff)|
|August 2017||We attend the Pacific Ink & Arts Expo in Hawaii with new designs and products (25 staff)|
Launched our 2nd Kickstarter campaign for the Green Banana Paper Slim Wallet design (25 staff)
First large corporate order from the Bank of Guam. Hosted our first intern who made improvements to our staff bios page, company policies, and factory certification process with World FairTrade, Vegan.org, and B-Corp.
|March 2018||We attend the ASD MarketWeek in Las Vegas, USA. Honored with Best in Show award for ASD SourceDirect.|
|May 2018||Invested in new papermaking equipment, laser cutter, and infrastructure for factory cleanliness, worker safety, and improvements in our digital design studio, printshop, papermaking, finished product, and gift shop areas.|
|June 2018||35 staff involved in fiber processing, order production, and construction of new apartment for interns and artists in residence.|
|August 2018||Hosted our second intern who helped develop prototypes and train our local staff to use our new laser cutter.|
|November 2018||Matt goes to Guam to speak at the University of Guam Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.|
|January 2019||Green Banana factory collaborates with Tao Pacific Designs to release the Circle Latte' series of wallets.|
|February 2019||Green Banana begins collaboration with multiple private label and corporate partners on Guam.|
|April 2019||Green Banana attends and produces nametags for the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability Conference.|
|July 2019||Visiting Artist in Residence Joseph Certeza of Guam, Tao Pacific Designs, stayed for one month on Kosrae working with stencil printing, fabrics, print/cut/sew products, and storytelling through design. He vows to return!|
|July 2019||Visiting Artist in Resdience Eliza Bruml of the UK stayed for one month on Kosrae workgin with bookbinding and product development. We now have some journal making skills and plenty of interesting new ideas thanks to Eliza.|
|October 2019||Green Banana attends the World Culture Open Better Together Challenge in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Presentations on projects by social change-makers from around the world. We are inspired to be a part of this global group and open to exploring new ideas for our own future.|
|December 2019||The Green Banana team crafts wallets for Wu-Tang Clan's vegan fashion label, 36 Chambers.|
Wallet collections found here.
Logo Files for DARK Backgrounds | Click each logo for full-size .png file
Logo Files for LIGHT Backgrounds | Click each logo for full-size .png file
"This leather-like slim wallet is actually made from banana tree fibers"
Slim Wallet Kickstarter Video (1:38)
"How to make a wallet from a banana tree"
Highlighting the process and staff. (2:56)
"The ideal 43 second trip to Kosrae"
A feel good promo/teaser video. (0:43)
"How to make a Paper Wallet at home"
Easy origami, arts & crafts project (3:15)
"Wallets you'll go bananas for"
Green Banana Paper Kickstarter Video (3:38)
Downloadable full infographic .jpg photos (Click to view or Right Click -> Save Link As...)*Note: If you would like to be sent the files for original edits, please contact us.
The below sample articles are editable documents permitted for publication purposes effective as of January 20th, 2017.