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    The Flint-Based Eyewear Company Giving Purpose to Plastic Waste

    the unwash • social impact

    Here on The Unwash, we often talk about making different sustainable swaps or supporting brands innovating how we care for the environment. The truth is that making those choices comes with an absolute privilege. But, we can enact positive change with our purchasing power when making these choices. When the state of Michigan and the country failed Flint, plastic water bottles became a necessity for the town of almost 100,000 people. Given the lack of concerted effort to find resolve for Flint, small brands and businesses have rallied to try to find solutions themselves. In comes Genusee, the brand creating eyewear out of Flint’s plastic water bottles.

    Genusee’s eyewear line consists of prescription-grade optical sunglasses and blue light glasses, which come in a wide range of colors and styles. You can feel good knowing that with every purchase made, fifteen plastic bottles are upcycled, and 1% is donated to the Community Fund of Greater Flint. 

    “It’s one of the largest polluting industries in the world. And at the end of the day, I was like, ‘Why am I making more shit that people don’t really need?'” – Ali Rose VanOverbeke, Genusee Co-Founder

    The founders of Genusee, Ali Rose VanOverbeke, and Jack Burns, wanted to find a way to not only play a role in cleaning up the plastic issue but also create revenue and jobs for the people there. Given the many people in Flint’s connection to the automotive industry, Genusee is creating jobs for people who can capitalize on their skills. The brand is focused on a closed loop cycle and keeping as much of its production and employees within the local area, creating a greater impact than outsourcing.

    The situation in Flint is not the only time a town in the United States has faced a water crisis. Towns and reservations across the United States are without clean or running water and are left to their own devices to find resolve. Much like Genusee, small brands and local communities often are to thank for rising to the occasion. Genusee found a way to not only create a sustainable product but also give hope and inspiration in light of a crisis. 



    Being environmentally conscious is a top priority for this gender-neutral clothing brand. Founders Bobby Bonaparte and Max Kingery sought to create a brand that isn’t adding to the environmental crisis that the fashion industry is only furthering. Fusing nature and fashion, this clothing brand is one to add to your closet.



    Everist uses ingredients that naturally break down over time and do not pollute water systems. Their shipping cartons and mailers are recyclable or compostable, and they offer a buyback program for the cap of the product to be upcycled for future Everist products. 

    Everist gives you a traditional shampoo and conditioner feel without additional waste. These concentrates are revolutionizing a notably wasteful industry and are a force for positive change.



    DedCool is a brand focused on genderless scents and vegan ingredients and is committed to sustainability. Utilizing biodegradable materials to ensure their detergent will not create microplastics in water systems, you can use this for hand washing or in the machine. The detergent comes in an aluminum canister allowing for easy recyclability. To add another reason we love this – you can match your detergent to your favorite perfume.