January 22, 2007 - #69
No More Plastic Bags At ASB Markets
The ASB supermarkets in Saint Barth are the first to stop using plastic bags for groceries in according with a law passed by the French National Assembly in December 2005 that sets a deadline of 2010, after which time non-biodegradable plastic bags will be prohibited in France. For the past year, the Saint Barth group of markets managed by Alain Magras has tried to replace plastic bags with those made of cornstarch—bags which are less sturdy but are completely biodegradable in just a few months. This is not an ideal solution due to a manufacturing cost three times that of polyethylene bags and a strong eutrophication or stimulation of the growth of micro algae that kills fauna if the bags are discarded in the ocean. At ASB markets, clients can now purchase these bags, but the idea is to encourage them to use their own shopping bags or straw baskets. With this in mind, the association St. Barth Environment has been selling green fabric bags in various stores on the island at the cost of one euro. With almost 10,000 of these bags sold, the idea has met with success. In France, supermarkets are slowly getting their clients to abandon the use of plastic bags. In 1995, the Leclerc supermarket chain was the first to stop using plastic. This allows stores to save money, to promote healthy environmental habits, and avoid government action such as a tax levied in Ireland. In Mayotte, plastic bags have been officially banned since January 1, 2006. Action was also taken in Corsica to reduce their use and avoid polluting the landscape. A plastic grocery bag takes one second to make, is used for an average of 20 minutes, and takes 400 years to decompose. Every year in 15 billion plastic bags are distributed in stores, at a rate of 500 bags per second. 150 million of these bags (or one out of every 100) ends up floating along the French coastline and can cause the death of animals that suffocate while trying to eat them, especially sea turtles and marine mammals that confuse them with jellyfish.
A Painting by Antoine Heckly To Be Reproduced On Pre-Stamped Postal Envelopes
Twenty-five of the island's 64 painters participated in this year's art competition— and the winning painting will be reproduced on 10,000 pre-stamped envelopes sold at the post office. The association, St. B’Art, which organized the competition, asked the artists to submit their work by December 8 in order to display the canvases on the main dock in Gustavia during the weekend of the Telethon. The theme of the contest was Saint Barth, and the artists expressed their personal visions of the island via its architecture, activities, and ambiance. The 200 people who came to make donations during the Telethon voted for a special Public Prize that was awarded to Josiane Pialou. The paintings were then put on display at the post office in Gustavia, then moved to gallery Porta 34 at the very end of December, for a week leading up to the award ceremony. The judges selected the winners based on four criteria— respecting the theme, originality of the work, technical execution, and personal appreciation— and the results were announced on January 4. Antoine Heckly, Yves Cerato, and Josiane Pialou took first, second, and third place respectively. Alfred Hamm, director of the local post office, is thinking about the possibility of a new layout for the envelopes that would allow the winners of the first prize and public prize to be shown together. The 10,000 envelopes should be on sale at the post office as of early May.