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A sustainable business to help the people of Kosrae, Micronesia: Creative passion, ethical mission, incredible story.
A sustainable business to help the people of Kosrae, Micronesia: Creative passion, ethical mission, incredible story.
A sustainable business to help the people of Kosrae, Micronesia: Creative passion, ethical mission, incredible story.
292 backers pledged $24,965 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Green Banana Paper Wallets

$24,965

292

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             

Men's Features:

Ditch your leather wallet for this sustainable and ethical new vegan banana 'leather' wallet.  

  • 6 Card slots
  • 2 Hidden pockets
  • 1 Bills compartment
  • Elastic closure
  • Original acrylic silk-screened print - or design-it-yourself if you like

 

Women's Features:

It's the perfect combination of fashion, function and sustainability.  It's a design statement whether you're cruising to the store or to the beach.

  • 4 Card slots
  • 1 ID window
  • 1 Bills compartment
  • Elastic closure
  • Original acrylic silkscreened print - or design-it-yourself if you like

 

Travel Features:

It's a quick and easy travel organizer, with a pen so you don't ever have to awkwardly wake up your neighbor again.  It's great for safekeeping your important documents and for conversation starters!

  • 1 Passport pocket
  • 3 Card slots
  • 1 ID window
  • 3M Sticky note pad
  • Bic mini travel pen
  • Elastic closure
  • Original acrylic silk-screened print - or design-it-yourself if you'd like.

 

 

For Creative Types: The DIY Option

You can choose to receive a blank wallet so you can add any design you desire!  Customize it, personalize it, or leave it blank so the beautiful fibers stand out even more!  A great option for creative people, or maybe you just want the clean look of our natural banana 'leather'.  Whatever you do, make sure to tag a social media picture of your wallet with #greenbananapaper!

 

Super Limited | Custom Inked Wallets

Get a custom inked wallet by renowned Pacific artist, John Alefaio, of Marshall Arts Tattoo (Marshall Islands). John will do only 10 of these.

 

Renowned Pacific tattoo artist John Alefaio.
Renowned Pacific tattoo artist John Alefaio.

  

 

 

 

Reviews From Our Factory Tour: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: If you're here as a journalist please visit our Press Kit page.

"Len Wo" Kickstarter,

That means "Hello" in Kosraean.  Welcome to our passion project, Green Banana Paper.  This is our grand opening after three years of hard work - and hopefully it's just the beginning.  We want to show you how we're using banana trees to make a difference here on Kosrae.  

Green Banana Paper is a "waste to wealth" startup, recycling banana trees from local farmers into beautiful vegan wallets.  Our purpose is to help the islands by creating jobs and sustainable export products that don't harm the environment or people.

Much love to you all,

Matt & the Green Banana Paper team

Where is Kosrae?

Kosrae is a 42-square-mile island in the Western Pacific region of Micronesia.  It's a fertile volcanic island often referred to as the "Jewel of the Pacific" or the "Island of the Sleeping Lady."  Read more about the island on our website.

Miracles are happening at the Green Banana Paper Factory.

Each wallet was once a beautiful banana tree; a giant tropical berry that quickly grew to towering heights, producing delicious fruit as its life ended.  These lucky old banana trees are rescued from the landfill by our team of miracle workers using an array of ancient and modern techniques and equipment. .

 What is banana fiber?

Banana fiber is found within the large trunk. It gives strength to the banana tree so it can hold up those heavy bananas! Banana fibers are strong and beautiful, and have been used for thousands of years throughout the islands in rope making and weaving.  

Unlike most fruit trees, banana trees produce fruit just once and must be chopped down after harvest because they will self-reproduce from the base.  Normally, the trees are left in the jungle as unwanted waste.  Now on Kosrae, over 75 local farmers earn extra income from selling their trees to us.  That's why we call it "waste to wealth".

The fibers are naturally water resistant, and we add a thin coat of wax on the outside to protect against sweat, spills or rain. If it does get wet, just allow it to dry and you're good to go!

 Additionally, banana fiber is highly fire- and tear-resistant. With normal daily use and periodically reapplying wax or any other water repellant, this wallet will last you a long time! Did we mention it's recyclable?

 

 

Would you like to know more? 

Get the rest of the story here.
Get the rest of the story here.

 Do you give factory tours or classes?

Our factory is a must-see destination here on Kosrae!  Nearly all tourists stop by to find out about banana fiber and even give papermaking a try.  

Check us out on TripAdvisor
Check us out on TripAdvisor

Each semester we host local school groups who learn about recycling and how to make paper!  It's one of the highlights of what we do.

Would you like to become part of our story?

We hope you will support us in any way you can.  Your support is absolutely the deciding factor if we can accomplish the dream we have envisioned for Green Banana Paper.

The funds we raise will be used to change lives, to support families, and to train our local employees in new and sustainable skills.  The easiest way we can make a difference in today's world is to vote with our wallets.  By supporting our Kickstarter or buying our wallets, you are directly supporting hundreds of people here on our island!  

Starting a business like this way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a tiny island no bigger than a dot on the map is not easy... and that's why we need your help!  We've been successful here on our island, but we know we need to utilize the internet to connect directly with our friends and customers to make a bigger impact.  

Even if you don't want to pledge any money, you can make a huge difference for us by sharing our link on your social media.  The power of the internet in your hands - please share our pages, our video, and our story!

Reward Tier Breakdown:

  • $1         GIVE ONE | Every $ helps us to our goal. Thanks!! 
  • $49       EARLY BIRD | 1 Wallet  (First 100 backers save $25 off our retail price.)
  • $59       GET ONE | 1 Wallet  (Save $15 off our retail price.)
  • $95       EARLY BIRD | 2 Wallets  (First 100 backers save $55 off our retail price.)
  • $109     GET TWO | 2 Wallets  (Save $40 off our retail price.)
  • $100     SUPER LIMITED | Custom inked wallet by John Alefaio (Very Limited: 10)
  • $145     GET THREE | 3 Wallets  (Save $80 off our retail price.)
  • $185     GET FOUR | 4 Wallets  (Save $115 off our retail price.)
  • $225     GET FIVE | 5 Wallets  (Save $150 off our retail price.)
  • $259     GET SIX |  6 Wallets  (Save $190 off our retail price.)

How do you ship?  Who pays shipping?

Good questions.  We are located on a tiny remote island in the middle of the Pacific, but we have four international flights each week. Our mail goes direct to Guam or Hawaii, and shipping is not cheap.  We want to give you free shipping, but we can't afford to.  So we're going to split the cost with you.  We will cover the cost to ship your order to our distributors in Hawaii and Guam.  From there we can ship via USPS to your doorstep for $10 for USA backers and $20 for International backers - regardless of whether you buy one wallet or six wallets.  So the more wallets you buy, the less you're paying on shipping per piece.  Ask a friend or family member to pledge with you so you can save on shipping costs!

How we ship from Kosrae, Micronesia.
How we ship from Kosrae, Micronesia.

Is there a warranty?

Yes, we stand by our product and we want you to be happy with the craftsmanship and longevity of your wallet.  You can read our returns policy for instructions in case you need to return your wallet to us.  

Though our wallet may get a little wear and tear after some time, these things just reveal more beauty and character in the piece - just like us as we get older and age like a fine wine.  Fibers start to magically fluff out from the paper, designs are enhanced by the worn-in textures, and corners become rounded edges.  

Will it last you forever?  Nope.  It's not meant to.  It's not a piece of carbon fiber or aluminum or animal skin dipped in chromium.  It's just banana fiber.  How long it will last will depend on you.  Do you throw your wallet around here and there, lose it in the couch, put 15 cards in it, or put it through the washing machine?  Well, this wallet may last you 6-12 months before you need a new one.  However, if you are going to treat your wallet a little nicer, let it dry off if it gets wet, don't overstuff it, reapply a little candle wax every few months to help protect the paper, then this wallet will last you from 12 months on up to 12 years or longer.  This wallet will become very personal.  As long as it has a meaning to you, you'll take care of it and cherish the memories and stories attached to it. 

The true cost of a wallet.

In today's world, we are programmed to expect cheap prices for our fashion and accessories - but at what cost?  Today, an estimated one in six people worldwide works in the fashion industry. To keep prices low and meet demand, fashion giants now outsource 97 percent of production, paying workers as little as $1 a day and hurting the environments and economies of already unstable and impoverished developing countries.

Olivia Fleming writes, “According to a report by the Danish Fashion Institute, fashion is the world's second worst polluter after the oil industry. In Kanpur, leather tanneries dump an estimated 50 million liters of chemical waste every day in the Ganges River, contaminating crops and running water, leaving millions of children deformed and adults riddled with cancer. "All of our savings goes into treating the diseases," says one factory worker in “The True Cost”, a film about the devastating effects of fast-fashion.”  Have a look at this photo essay on leather tanneries in India on Mashable.

Companies such as Project Just, Fashion Revolution and B-Lab are keeping consumers better informed about the environmental and social impacts of their favorite brands. We believe Green Banana Paper epitomizes social enterprise ideals and how research and development of new products for the Western market can promote solutions for global issues, including targeting positive economic development within countries like Micronesia.

The process of creating these beautiful wallets is very labor intensive.  It begins with our local farmers, then tree collection, fiber extraction, drying, cutting, boiling, washing, pulping, papermaking, die-cutting, scoring, printing, adding elastic/ID window, folding, gluing, sewing, waxing, grading, and packaging.  Over the course of 1-2 weeks, more than 12 people must put a total of 5-6 hours of hard work into each and every wallet.  

With very few job opportunities in the private sector, Green Banana Paper is making an important contribution to Kosrae's struggling local economy. We aim to break the cycle of a welfare nation dependent on foreign aid by sharing our story with the world on the Internet.  

Robinhood Albert holding our thick banana paper.
Robinhood Albert holding our thick banana paper.

 Beautiful Wallets | Beautiful Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Thank you for your orders!  Don't wait!

 

 

 

Risks and challenges

We have been extracting fiber and making paper for over two years already. So we feel confident in our equipment, our team, and our production. Wallets will begin shipping out as soon as we receive your selection after the campaign.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Show Our Island Some Love!

    Every $ helps us toward our goal. Thank you! You're an absolute legend!!

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    11 backers
    $
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $49 or more About $49

    EARLY BIRD | 1 Wallet

    Get 1 Green Banana wallet at a very special Early Bird Kickstarter price for our first 100 backers. You'll be able to choose your wallet's version and color later.
    SAVE $25 off our retail price of $74.99

    Includes:
    • 1 WALLET
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 149 backers
    $
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $59 or more About $59

    GET ONE | 1 Wallet

    Buy 1 Green Banana wallet at a special discounted Kickstarter price. You'll be able to choose your wallet's version and color later.
    SAVE $15 off our retail price of $74.99

    Includes:
    • 1 WALLET
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    12 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    EARLY BIRD | 2 Wallets

    For our earliest backers, pledge for 2 wallets now and receive our special Early Bird Kickstarter price. You'll be able to choose your wallet's versions and colors later.
    SAVE $55 off our retail price of $149.98

    Includes:
    • 2 WALLETS
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 74 backers
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  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SUPER LIMITED | Custom Inked Wallet

    Get 1 CUSTOM INKED wallet by renowned Pacific tattoo artist, John Alefaio. John will do only 10 of these. Watch the video of John designing a wallet. You'll be able to choose your wallet's version later.

    Includes:
    • 1 CUSTOM INKED WALLET
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 20 backers
    $
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $109 or more About $109

    GET TWO | 2 Wallets

    Pledge for 2 wallets now (yay!) and kick back in your hammock somewhere knowing you helped us AND you scored on our special Kickstarter price. You'll be able to choose your wallet's versions and colors later.
    SAVE $40 off our retail price of $149.98

    Includes:
    • 2 WALLETS
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    4 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $145 or more About $145

    GET THREE | 3 Wallets

    Pledge for 3 wallets (yew!) and grab that Early Bird price now! All of us at Green Banana appreciate your support soooo much! You'll be able to choose your wallet's versions and colors later.
    SAVE $80 off our retail price of $224.97

    Includes:
    • 3 WALLETS
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    7 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $185 or more About $185

    GET FOUR | 4 Wallets

    Pledge for 4 wallets now (<3) and make a big impact for us and feel good because you are absolutely scoring with our low Kickstarter price. You'll be able to choose your wallet's versions and colors later.
    SAVE $115 off our retail price of $299.96

    Includes:
    • 4 WALLETS
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    2 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $225 or more About $225

    GET FIVE | 5 Wallets

    Buy 5 wallets and save big while helping others! You'll choose your wallets' versions and colors later.
    SAVE $150 off our retail price of $374.95

    Includes:
    • 5 WALLETS
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    1 backer
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $259 or more About $259

    GET SIX | 6 Wallets

    Get 6 wallets and share the passion and story with others. You're order makes a big difference for us at Green Banana Paper. Thank you! You'll be able to choose your wallet's versions and colors later.
    SAVE $190 off our retail price of $449.94

    Includes:
    • 6 WALLETS
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Funding period

- (45 days)