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Environmental mood boosts sales

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Timing can make all the difference in selling certain products. That’s certainly been the case for Aerosolv, a product developed 15 years ago by Virginia Beach-based Katec Inc. Aerosolv is used to make aerosol cans suitable for recycling. It punctures the can, relieves the propellant pressure inside and collects the contents of the container.

Aerosolv did okay in its early years, but sales have jumped 30 percent in the past six months as businesses have become increasingly conscious of en­­vi­­­­ronmental issues. “We’re getting calls from all over,” says Michael Campbell, president and CEO of Katec. “There’s a lot more regulation requiring companies to recycle their cans, but really, it’s becoming almost popular nowadays for a business to be green, so a lot of them are doing this voluntarily.”

Campbell says Aerosolv, which costs about $750, is the only aerosol-can recycling technology certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. His customers include major companies such as DuPont, American Airlines, Wal-Mart, Federal Express and Hallmark, as well as a growing number of small businesses.

The renewed popularity of Aerosolv is having a spinoff effect on another Katec product, Prosolv, which empties and depressurizes small propane tanks. Campbell sends a Prosolv brochure with each Aerosolv shipment. “As a result, about 30 percent of the people who buy Aerosolv turn around and buy the Prosolv product,” he says.

Katec can easily handle the new demand thanks to its business model. The company contracts out its manufacturing, sales and distribution. Katec, which had its best year ever in 2007, has only three employees.


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