Reusable Contact Lenses: A Plastic-Free Alternative to Disposables
Join us as we chat to Garrett Priest, innovator and creator behind "Glasce". His product is simple yet effective: reusable glass contact lens cases. Environmentally friendly and super handy!
- Hey Garrett! Please, tell us a little more about your product and who is involved.
These cases have a simple and eloquent design. It is honestly little humorous, I never thought that I would be getting compliments about how nice my contact case looks in my bathroom. The case has one base compartment that will hold both your lens separately and one cap to cover them. It has a curved design that makes it easy to hold with one hand and readily identify which contact is your left or right one.
Having a fresh contact lens case is important to your eye health. The standard optometrist recommendation is to get a new case once every 3 months. With my glass case I throw it in the dishwasher at the end of every week and it’s just like having a new case. Since I have been using my glass case my eyes have been less dry, and rarely get irritated throughout the day.
-Wow, sounds like a no-brainer! What was your initial motivation behind the idea?
I was searching around one day trying to find an alternative to disposable lens cases and I was shocked to find out that there isn’t really an option out there. That’s why I decided to do something about it and make my own. I found some posts online about people wanting a product like this and figured why not try and make it happen. It’s a simple idea but I think a lot of people could benefit from it.
- You're currently funding the project through Kickstarter. Please, tell us about any challenges that you've faced so far.
The main challenge was trying to find a supplier that would be able to one: make a custom piece of glass and two: make it reasonably affordable. After burning through prototype funds working with different producers, I finally found one that could make the idea a reality. I hope to be able to get the selling price down significantly but this will come with more interest. As it stands, the order quantities are low hence the steeper price point. I was happy to get it down to where it is at now, however.
- Do you have previous experience in business, or is this new to you?
This is my first real venture into the product development realm. I operated a custom hauling and recycling business that put me through college. This business really opened my eyes to how much we waste, it’s truly appalling to see what people want to throw out. We prided ourselves on recycling or reusing as much stuff as we possibly could while in business, everything from metal scraps to furniture.
- That's great. Still, it must be tough as a first-timer. Are there any moments in which you’ve become disheartened with the project, and what did you do to overcome them?
The community around living a plastic-free lifestyle are very helpful and informative. I really have not been disheartened at all. If anything, talking with people about what they are doing to make a difference has helped me want to be more of a conscious consumer.
- What advice do you have for consumers who are also trying to live plastic-free?
Do your research. More often than not (except with contact lens cases, to name one) there are great plastic alternatives out there. The biggest difference that it easy for everyone to do is invest in reusable grocery bags. There are great products out there to replace all Ziploc bags and those thin plastic bags used to bag vegetables. I would recommend starting there and then really taking a look at your use of disposable single use plastics and what alternative there are.
- Fab advice, thank you. Is there anything else you'd like to mention?
I am additionally partnering with a local non-profit organization (https://www.projectconservationfund.org/) to help bring awareness and relief to the people of Nepal after the devastating earthquake in 2015. 10% of the profit will be donated to their cause. Project Conservation Fund was started videographer friend of mind that is working to bridge the gap between scientific research and the general public, by creating educational documentaries about ecological biologists work. The unique thing about this nonprofit is that they work to receive grants to not only fund the documentary but to fund the scientific research as well which is a very unique thing. Their website has some great information for those interested.
- Thanks so much for your time, Garrett, and good luck with the project!
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