Reno firm looks to create market for spill kits

A small Reno company hopes its chemical spill cleanup kit one day becomes as common as the first-aid kits found in every office and warehouse building.

InPro Marketing, which operates out of a small warehouse on Longley Lane and bills itself as materials management company, is beginning to market its Chem-Kit, which includes items to strain, absorb and neutralize paint, ink and industrial fluids.

Michael Ames, director of sales, says the company is working hard to sell the kits to federal agencies as a way to open wider markets.

The Chem-Kit includes a spill-neutralizing powder made of materials mined in Nevada, a powder that allows workers to clean tools such as paint brushes or concrete finishing trowels and safely dispose of waste material, and disposal caps and strainers for paint containers.

The company's competitive advantage, Ames says, is found in the way its powders neutralize hazardous wastes. The powder then can be tossed in the trash.

"Spill kits don't solve the problem of hazardous waste," Ames says. "You put some kind of absorbent pad or powder on it, and that has to be swept up and put in a red haz-mat bag and disposed through hazardous waste."

InPro Marketing was founded 19 years ago by Rick Lykins, a painting contractor. In order to use a sprayer, painters need to strain paint through a sieve. Lykins grew tired of using two hands to manhandle a bag-like strainer shaped like a pastry tube.

He created a cardboard square that holds a fine mesh netting that inserts on top of paint buckets. When the painter is finished, the cardboard frame absorbs excess paint and can be left in trash containers.

The Super Strainer also has found wide acceptance among companies that use ink in their operations.

Sales of the Chem-Kit, which costs around $175, have yet to take off, but the product was showcased at a California Green Technology Summit. Ames says response was positive.

The company is working with the Nevada Commission on Economic Development's Procurement Outreach Program to open government markets for the kits.


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