Press Kit - Green Banana Paper
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Press Kit

Green Banana Paper is an exciting new 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 info@greenbananapaper.com, or send a message here

Company Overview

Name Green Banana Paper
Address PO Box 1013, Kosrae, FM 96944
Country Federated States of Micronesia
Website greenbananapaper.com
Facebook facebook.com/greenbananapaperco
Instagram instagram.com/greenbananapaper
Twitter twitter.com/MadeInKosrae
Email info@greenbananapaper.com
Phone +691 370 6772 

Social Impact

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 18 staff as of January 2017, we are already one of the top private companies on the island.  We hope to employ 35 full-time staff within the next year.  

We try 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 extinguisher at hand.  Drinking water is available and electric fans are provided for everyone.  Our factory has good lighting, safe electricity, and a clean bathroom as well.  We pay our staff 50-150% more than 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...)

New Jobs Created: 21

Local Farmers Earning New Income:  75


Environmental Impact

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.

PHOTOS: Dropbox Photo Folder:  Click here to view hi-res photos of the Green Banana Paper factory & raw materials.

Materials:  175,000lbs (80,000kg) of discarded banana trees have been recycled.  The wallets are 99% organic and biodegradable.  The elastic strap on all wallets can be recycled.  The travel wallet and women's wallet also have an acetate ID window which can be recycled.  Our handwovens are comprised of cotton/poly warp thread and abaca weft fiber - both recyclable.  Our banana fiber papers are 100% biodegradable and we sometimes have students collect their school papers for recycling at our factory.

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 fibres with almost zero waste.

Small trash items from our factory such as tape, old brushes, empty glue 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 three 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 from Amazon.  We built a special grey-water system to ensure that the leftover water from this process is neutralized before re-entering the ground. To do this, we pour 1L of vinegar each month into the holding tank - which brings the pH back down to 7-8.  Our factory is also built over sandy/coral ground 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 Aleene's Tacky Glue which is non-toxic and non-industrial.  In stark contrast with the leather industry, these are the only chemicals used in our entire process.  

 

Founder

Matt Simpson, a New London, CT native, moved to Micronesia as a volunteer teacher in 2007 and never left.  A keen surfer, Matt wanted to do something to give back to his community that had given him a life he could have only dreamed of.  Matt began Green Banana Paper after seeing the lack of job opportunities for his graduating students, and the need for sustainable and exportable products from Micronesia.  Matt currently lives on Kosrae most of the year and likes to get off island to chase waves around the world.

Downloadable .jpg photos of Matt Simpson  (Click or Right Click - Save Link As...)


  

Green Banana Paper Timeline

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.  (10 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 - known as the olympics of Pacific arts.  (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)

 

Vegan Wallets

Material:    Banana fiber
Qualities:   Organic, Water-resistant, Tear-resistant, Reinforced Seams
Environmental Impact:  Banana fiber is an eco-friendly material that is produced from recycled banana trees from subsistence farmers on Kosrae.  We care deeply for the environment and have ensured the sustainability of our natural resources in harvest, production and end product.   (Biodegradable, Cruelty-Free, Tree-Free, Vegan, No Chemicals)
Social Impact:  The raw materials are purchased from over 75 local farmers in the community - providing a new way to earn extra income.  Making wallets from banana trees is labor intensive.  The making of each wallet involves 12 or more people.  By purchasing our wallets, our customers are helping provide creative and fulfilling work to members of our community.  

Downloadable .jpg product photos  (Click or Right Click - Save Link As...)

Men's Wallets Vegan Men's Wallet by Green Banana Paper - Design-It-Yourself Vegan Men's Wallet by Green Banana Paper - Castaway Series in Blue Vegan Men's Wallet by Green Banana Paper - Flora Series Vegan Men's Wallet by Green Banana Paper - Castaway Series Tribal Men's Wallet
Women's Wallets Women's Wallet - Design-It-Yourself Series Women's Wallet Castaway Series Tribal Women's Wallet Women's Wallet Flora Series in Blue Women's Wallet Castaway Series in Purple Tribal Women's Wallet
Travel Wallets Green Banana Paper Travel Wallet - Design-It-Yourself Green Banana Paper Travel Wallet Castaway Series in Black Tribal Travel Wallet Green Banana Paper Travel Wallet Flora Series in Red Green Banana Paper Travel Wallet Castaway Series in Blue Tribal Travel Wallet

 

Media Assets

Logo Files for DARK Backgrounds | Click each logo for full-size .png file

Green Banana Paper Landscape Logo for Dark Backgrounds Green Banana Paper Portrait Logo for DARK Backgrounds Green Banana Paper Icon for DARK Backgrounds

Logo Files for LIGHT Backgrounds | Click each logo for full-size .png file

Green Banana Paper Landscape Logo for LIGHT Backgrounds Green Banana Paper Portrait Logo for LIGHT Backgrounds Green Banana Paper Icon for LIGHT Backgrounds

HD Video Content | Embeddable YouTube Links

*Note: If you would like to be sent the video files for original edits, please contact us.

"The ideal 43 second trip to Kosrae"

A feel good promo/teaser video. (0:43)

"Wallets you'll go bananas for"

Green Banana Paper Kickstarter Video (3:38)

"How to make a wallet from a banana tree"

Highlighting the process and staff. (2:56)

 

Links to Past Media Mentions

 

Downloadable Sample Articles

The below sample articles are editable documents permitted for publication purposes effective as of January 20th, 2017.

 

Targeted / Key Audiences

Whether it's our social impact or our cruelty-free and eco-friendly products, ethically minded consumers will love Green Banana Paper.  Our story sparks a curiosity level in people that results in high levels of reader interaction.

Our story will stand out in the eco-luxury market.  We have unique designs and packaging crafted with the eco-luxury market in mind.  

Micronesia is one of those places on everybody's bucket list but few people actually go.  Our story is inspiring, and we make a really good travel wallet too!

We're a true Pacific company, and we get widespread support from island people who recognize our sustainability and social impact immediately.   

Wallets are a very personal thing for most people.  Wallet enthusiasts are those extra enthusiastic guys and girls who hypothesize over and over about the absolute best way to carry around our daily essentials.