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Local woman weaves fashionable handbags out of castoff plastic

She's figured out how to cut the bags over and over, making one endless thin loop with which she weaves, like it's yarn.

Benoit first started crocheting several years ago with plastic bags, she said, after a group of crafters at a senior citizen's center in Florida , of which she's a member, challenged the participants to do something good for the environment.

"When you explore new techniques, you can come up with new creations," she said.

Benoit, originally from Switzerland, retired to Stony Creek after a career as an art teacher and the proprietor of an art gallery in Castleton-on-Hudson, N, called "Elly's Studio."

Benoit said Tuesday that while the shopping bags' exceptional durability - while creating a widespread problem - offered her creations more than just functionality.

The woven handbags of hers will likely be discovered in many hundreds of years by archeologists unearthing 21st-century culture, she said.

"One day, plastic bags will be banned, and then these woven bags will be collectible antiques," she quipped.

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