In January 2016, Michigan native Ali VanOverbeke, 28, returned home from working as a designer for a clothing company in New York City to volunteer with the Red Cross to help with the Flint water crisis. Every day, she delivered cases and cases of bottled water.
“One of the first things that came to mind was, ‘What the heck is happening to all this plastic?’” after the bottles were empty, said VanOverbeke.
Her solution to the plastic waste was to create Genusee, a company that makes glasses frames out of recycled water bottles based in Flint. VanOverbeke started the company with Jack Burns, 33, whom she met while studying at Parsons School of Design in Greenwich Village.
“We worked in a fellowship together after graduation and we realized that we work really great together,” VanOverbeke said. “At that time, we were both exploring how to use design to redesign systems and address issues of disability that we have seen.”
For months, the two brainstormed ways to combat this problem. “Originally we had looked at everything from toothbrushes to sweaters,” said Burns, who is a professor at Parsons. “We had […]