It’s time for another mini-excursion. The entire team and I jumped into the the car and we drove for half an hour towards a banana paper factory named One Planet Café. I think this must be the most ethical factory where I have ever been in my life.
Pio, a Swedish guy who lived in Japan for most of his fe, introduced us to the factory. The tour started in the office. He explained how his young factory applied to all 17 sustainability goals as defined by the United Nations. It was impressive to hear how he could explain for every goal how and why it applied to One Planet Café. Next, Pio showed us several of the end products made in his factory. Lush Cosmetics, known as an ethical brand, uses the banana paper for its presents and bags (only in Japan). Toyota Cars also started using the environment-friendly paper in its factories in Japan. Pio’s banana paper is getting big in Japan, but why not in the rest of the world?
Why banana paper? Well, every banana tree produces one bunch of bananas, that’s it! After this one bunch of bananas the tree is done and becomes waste. Unless somebody cuts the tree at the bottom of its trunk. In this case the banana tree doesn’t only grow again, but it also spreads itself, more banana trees come to live. But what to do with all this waste? Well, One Planet Café buys it from farmers and uses it to make paper. If they wouldn’t buy it, it would be waste of resources. Moreover, by buying this waste the factory encourages farmers to cut trees and to let them grow and spread again. This process is better for the farmers, for the paper industry, for nature and for our planet.
In contrast with the regular paper industry, One Planet Café does not use chemicals in its production. In addition, they do not cut virgin trees (trees that are living their first live and don’t regrow) but it uses waste te make its paper. Next, the employees get fair wages, do not have sick-making jobs because they rotate and every employee is involved in the entire production. All kinds of people work at this factory: women, men, single moms, HIV/AIDS patients, etc. Finally, even if this paper flies from Zambia to Europe, Japan or anywhere else in the world it is still more eco-friendly than your toilet paper, the paper in your printer or your the paper in your notebook. This is because the banana paper flies directly from Zambia to its destination while regular paper flies 4 times around the world before reaching its final destination.
Okay, the paper is more expensive than regular paper but it has a face, it doesn’t destroy our planet and it is produced in a fair way. Are you ready to use One Planet Café’s banana paper? Yes, I am!
PS. Pictures follow later due to bad Wi-Fi connection in Mfuwe.