Since it first appeared in 2011, Sargasse seaweed has been threatening the coasts of St Barths and its delicate marine ecosystem. Its accumulation and subsequent drying also cause it to release a powerful odour of sulphur and ammonium that can lead to headaches, nausea and vomiting in St Barthelemy residents and tourists. Not a pretty picture (or smell).
One island resident, 35-year-old Pierre-Antoine Guibout came up with the clever idea to transform the dried seaweed into paper. Finding no manufacturer with the knowledge necessary to realise his vision, Guibout set out to study the problem on his own.
After several months of testing, Guibout has developed a method by which to create paper out of the stinking sea menace. The paper it creates is supple yet rigid enough to be made into cardboard. The next steps were to establish a pilot laboratory on St Barths dedicated to codifying techniques for Sargassum paper fabrication. Then, to garner the support of local businesses and major players in the paper industry for a new kind of paper and cardboard made in the Caribbean.
Artwork by Charles Moreau on a 100% sargassum paper
Eden Rock–St Barths is happily contributing funds toward the success of the Sargasse Project: an innovative, home-grown initiative that aligns with Oetker Collection’s CSR values. The project is still in its infancy, but in the future, Eden Rock hopes to implement the use of Sargassum paper into the hotel’s daily operations.