Necessity is the Mother of Green Invention

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Dan Fitzgerald of SPILLINEX™ picks up bags of waste polyurethane at a board shaping shop. Photo by Jon Steele

True story, and we have a local example of necessity driving innovation.

An engineer with Raytheon Corp., 1946, was performing some radar related research when he discovered the candy bar in his pocket had melted.  So he placed some popcorn kernels near the tube and to his inventive delight, they popped.  He and a colleague decided to place an egg near the tube and observed in experimental wonder as the egg began to tremor and quake with the rapid temperature rise within the egg.

As the colleague moved in for a closer look, yup, proverbial egg all over the face, and project “Speedie Weenie” was born.  They had invented the microwave oven.

Something else that changed our world occurred on Sept. 3, 1928, when a brilliant researcher, with an untidy laboratory returned after a long holiday.  Prior to leaving, Andrew Fleming stacked his cultures of staphylococci on a bench in the corner of his untidy laboratory.  Upon return Fleming noticed one culture was contaminated by fungus that destroyed the bacteria.  And now we have solution for disease-causing bacteria that Fleming called “mould juice” and we call Penicillin.

Locally, Steve Cox had a similar experience in the industry of shaping surfboards.  The process starts with a block of foam, or a “blank,” and is crafted into a surfboard by a shaper.  Experienced or novice, waste is created as a planer and other tools artfully remove polyurethane which comes off mostly as dust – a byproduct that the surf industry has long wrestled with.

One day, Cox has an oil spill.  Sacre blu! What to do?  No towels, no rags.  So he picks up a handful of shavings, the polyurethane dust, and tosses it on the oil.  In a microwave or Penicillin moment, it worked.  The substance absorbed the oil, grabbed it like the old game of a barrel full of monkeys.  And with a simple nylon broom, it was swept up.

In this “Flash of Genius,” Cox didn’t invent the dust, but he did discover a new use, and the ReUse of a surf industry waste product while solving an environmental dilemma.

Enter locals Tom Rossi, experienced in sourcing capital, TJ Rossi, a seasoned operator, and Dan Fitzgerald, responsible to make it rain when expanding distribution.

Monarch Green Inc. was formed here in Newport Beach, and SPILLINEX™ became the brand name.  Additional proprietary items have been added to hot-rod its efficacy as a sorbent.  Not only that, other reclaimed stuff (20%) has been added to the dust (80%) to make SPILLINEX™ work better than competitive alternatives.

SPILLINEX™, a 100% recycled product, is a revolutionary compound having the unique ability to contain and adsorb a wide variety of spilled liquids, including new and used oil, paint, diesel, gasoline, anti-freeze, hydraulic and brake fluids, cooking oils, syrup, eggs, honey and much more. Remarkably, SPILLINEX™ easily adsorbs oil in water, leaving clean water after removal. SPILLINEX™ is increasingly being employed by private enterprise and government agencies to clean up hazardous spills that would otherwise find their way into waterways and oceans. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deemed SPILLINEX™ to be an environmentally safe sorbent for use during the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill.  So says the website.

No wonder SPILLINEX™ has been recognized by SIMA (Surf Industry Manufacturer’s Association) and is partnering with surfboard brands that are donating leftover dust to divert from landfills while being ReUsed in a product to protect the environment.

It reminds me of WD40 and how consumers continue to come up with new uses for the product.  For SPILLINEX™ the list of spilled liquids it can handle continues to grow.

“Some are better left to the imagination,” shares TJ Rossi, “but we have testimonies of use on kitchen challenges like spilled honey.”

Lastly, some people buy a safe after a robbery.  SPILLINEX™ is a need-based product, you do not order after a spill.  You need it on hand, so you need to order now.

Perhaps we have inspired you to take green action and help these local green folks realize their dream, and you are asking what you can of to help?  You can go to, and order some for yourself.  Tell your mechanic, tell your buddies in the Fire Department, tell anyone you know at City Hall that this would be great for the City Yard.  Tell those in the harbor, at the gas dock, on a yacht.

Climb a tree and holler – it makes that much green sense.

What’s on your green mind?  [email protected]

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