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Durham artist tries to live plastic-free this year

Durham artist Bryant Holsenbeck is trying to avoid using disposable plastic this year.

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DURHAM, N.C. — Durham artist Bryant Holsenbeck turns trash into art.

After collecting armfuls of plastic trash from the beach last year for her art projects, she made a New Year's resolution to avoid using disposable plastic this year.

“My main impetus was no plastic bags, no plastic silverware, no plastic straws,” she said. “The stuff we use once and throw away.”

She is also blogging about her experience on her personal Web site.

Holsenbeck said the task has been tough and hidden plastic items sometimes surprise her.

“I open my new pickles, and there's a plastic seal thing around it,” she said.

And there are some plastic products, she can’t do without. “Dental floss – that’s something I’m not giving up,” Holsenbeck said.

In many areas of her life, she's made a fairly easy switch, simply asking local merchants to wrap products in paper.

When she shops at WholeFoods for her groceries, Holsenbeck brings her own bags and reusable glass jars.

Bringing a reusable bag to the grocery store is a great way to avoid using a disposable plastic bag, she said. Some stores even reward customers who bring their own bags.

Despite her personal mission, Holsenbeck insists that she is not against plastic.

“Plastic has good uses. It's just, I think we use it in excess,” she said.

Through her story, Holsenbeck hopes people will think about all the items they use once and throw away.

“'Away' is a place, and we’re using it up,” she said.

Holsenbeck also believes in recycling. She cuts up old cardboard boxes and uses them to print business cards.



Brian Shrader, Reporter
Richard Adkins, Photographer
Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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