Ottawa man’s free hand sanitizer project takes off
Ottawa’s Jordan Harding never imagined his simple idea of bottling and giving away free hand sanitizer would become as big as it has.
Since being profiled in this newspaper three weeks ago, the 38-year-old New Brunswick native says he’s distributed more than 500 bottles of hand sanitizer to those at greatest risk from the novel coronavirus.
Nurses, respiratory therapists and even doctors themselves have signed up through his handsan.ca website.
“Actual doctors,” Harding said. “I read these requests and think, ‘Here is a doctor who works in a hospital and they’re not allowed to take any hand sanitizer home with them. We need to keep these people safe both inside and outside the hospital. It’s just crazy that they can’t find this stuff.”
Harding has even supplied bottles to military police for its officers on patrol.
His Lansdowne condo has been transformed into a bottling factory where he and his girlfriend fill and label the 50 and 60 millilitre bottles from 5 p.m. to midnight since Harding is still working his regular 9 to 5 job as the chief technology officer at an Ottawa tech company.
“It’s been a super fun experience, to be honest. I’m a computer guy and everything I build is digital. To actually hold in my hands something that was just an idea a couple of weeks ago feels pretty cool. It makes me feel like an entrepreneur again.”
Harding’s first batch of sanitizer came from a friend who runs a sanitation business. Now he’s moved into the big time, bottling up the alcohol-based sanitizer being made by Ottawa’s North of 7 Distillery.
The bottleneck, so to speak, is the bottles themselves. They’re becoming scarce and Harding’s latest batch is a shipment of 384 amber-coloured glass spray bottles sourced from a Toronto essential oils company. They cost him $900 but it was all he could find. He’s now sourced a cheaper supplier in Vancouver and is awaiting 1,000 more bottles to be delivered on Monday.