by Kiwiana Ngabung – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Miles and miles away from Papua New Guinea, is a small island in the Federated States of Micronesia called Kosrae. The island has a land area of approximately 110km²; that’s smaller than Manus Island, but locals have something great to boast about.
Their now trending ‘Green Banana Paper Wallets; are getting likes all over the world!
Matt Simpson, an American and former volunteer teacher at a local high school in Kosrae, simply had love for the locals and the place. Realising there weren’t many opportunities in the area for students after high school and locals in general; Matt thought up a way to meaningfully and creatively engage the people, so he founded Green Banana Paper.
The innovative company uses banana tree trunks that would otherwise be thrown away by local farmers after harvest, to create these authentic eco-friendly wallets. And because of the natural water-resistant fibres it’s no biggie when it gets wet, because it’s good as new when it dries up. But for extra water-resistance they add a thin coat of natural wax. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
The wallets come in three styles: Men’s, Women’s and Travel.
There’s also the Design-It-Yourself wallet, that allows you to add your own designs to it, or you could just leave it blank with the natural look. You also have the choice to choose what ink colour they’d like – black, blue, red, purple or green.
Using waste banana trees, a sustainable chain is created where not only does it help the locals but buyers too make a contribution to being planet-friendly, as well as supporting locally made products.
What makes it even better is that Green Banana Paper provides opportunities for locals, employing around 16 people benefitting over a hundred people, and provides extra income for over 70 farmers for their banana tree trunks.
Apart from wallets, other products include beautifully handwoven purses for women, papers, prints, cards and envelopes, and shirts.