New Company to Make Glasses out of Flint’s Used Water Bottles

A new company is looking to create living wage jobs and reduce waste by using Flint’s old water bottles.


A new startup is hoping to use eyewear to make an economical and environmental impact on the residents in Flint.

Genusee is making eyeglasses out of recycled plastic water bottles.

Ali Rose VanOverbeke is the co-founder of the company. She says she wanted to create a business that could easily provide jobs with livable wages to Flint residents.

“Anyone can be trained to make eyeglasses. You don’t need any special kind of education or degree,” VanOverbeke says.  “You can be trained on the job. And that was really important to us because if we are going to be creating jobs we wanted to create jobs that anyone could do.”

VanOverbeke says the company wants to employ those who are what she calls “structurally unemployable” such as former prisoners.

The company launched a kick-starter campaign earlier this month to open an optical lab in Flint Township by the fall. 


  • Bre'Anna Tinsley
    Bre'Anna Tinsley is a reporter for Detroit Public Radio, 101.9 WDET. She covers city government and housing, as well as co-hosting the "Detroit Evening Report" podcast.