In 2007, 912 Auto Center, relocated from Mattapan to Dorchester, and in the process, switched their gun washing system to an EPA-approved product. This change successfully eliminated acetone, naphthalene, toluene, and xylene from their system. In addition to reducing toxic chemical use, the switch to water-based paint has reduced operating costs, improved performance and productivity, and enhanced worker safety and satisfaction while saving the company more than $3,300 annually.
- Located in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Acushnet was the first company in Massachusetts to obtain certification in ISO 14001, an international standard for environmental management. The company was also the first in the world to become certified in ISO 14001, ISO 9001 (a standard for quality programs), and the American automotive industry's QS-9000 quality standards. The company was able to move quickly to achieve ISO 14001 certification by taking advantage of the work previously done in completing a toxics use reduction (TUR) plan.
- In 1998, the AlphaGary Corporation (www.alphagary.com) successfully launched a Lead Reduction Pilot Program, in which they evaluated the use of alternatives to lead compounds in their products, while producing materials of equivalent or improved quality. This evaluation allowed the company to successfully incorporate these alternatives into their design process, thereby reducing the amount of time to bring new products to market. By 2004, the company experienced a 30% reduction in the use of lead and lead compounds, as well as reducing other toxic materials such as cadmium compounds and other heavy metals.
- To improve quality of service and environmental, health and safety performance, BOC Edwards installed an enclosed, automated wash system and closed-loop wastewater treatment unit at its pump-remanufacturing center in Wilmington, MA. The new system recycles nearly 100% of the process water used to clean pump components and decreases waste sludge by approximately 80% compared to previous operations.
- With assistance from a $425,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's NICE3 program, Brittany Dyeing and Printing Corporation implemented a new technology for finishing fabric that is more efficient, cost effective, and generates less waste than traditional methods. The project was completed in December 1998, and is expected to provide the following benefits: reduce energy consumption by over 60% per unit weight of fabric; reduce air emissions by over 60%; increase production capability by over 100% through higher production speeds; reduce wastewater discharge almost 80%; and cut water use by over 65%. The company estimates that the new process will reduce annual operating costs (primarily energy, water and wastewater costs) by approximately $150,000, a 36% savings.
ChemGenes Corporation, a biotechnology company located in Wilmington, MA, requested a visit from the Office of Technical Assistance and Technology (OTA) in 2005 in connection with their use of volatile organic chemicals. OTA provided several recommendations, which led to the company replacing most of their chloroform use with a blend of hexane and ethyl acetate, and investing in a new chromatography system that significantly improved the efficiency of their manufacturing process. From 2007-2010, ChemGenes reduced their use of chloroform by 55% (45,600 pounds) and hexane by 35% (9,403 pounds). The company has realized net savings of at least $215,000 due to reduced chemical purchases, regulatory fees, disposal costs, and increased productivity, which has allowed the company to hire four new employees.
Worcester’s Clark University, which has pioneered research on pollution control, climate mapping, land use change and other environmental issues, began actively mitigating its own environmental impact in the 1980’s. Now, the university has initiatives addressing energy, waste, materials, land use, water, and toxics; incorporating student, faculty, staff and community engagement. The university has publicly affirmed its commitment to sustainability by signing on to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and developing its own Climate Action Plan. Clark’s environmental sustainability efforts are a work in progress requiring continuous improvement and are a manifestation of its long-term commitment to the Clark motto: “Challenge convention, Change our world”. Sustainability is well integrated into academics, research, and campus culture.
- Columbia Manufacturing Inc. in Westfield, Massachusetts eliminated the use of 150,000 gallons of water per day in their plating operations. Columbia saved $80,000 in sewer fees, among other cost savings, by upgrading the plating equipment and integrating a zero discharge wastewater treatment system. The new, efficient plating line enables the company to recover and reuse 98% of the plating chemistry resulting in a drastic reduction of hazardous waste generation.
- Coyne Textile Services, an industrial laundry service, used simple but effective toxics use reduction techniques that resulted in reductions of over 19,000 pounds of chemicals and conservation of 2 million gallons of water. This translates into over $25,000 in savings from the reduction of chemical use and wash loads, plus additional savings from water conservation. Their success in developing these new techniques has established Coyne Textile Services as a leader among their competition.
- Crane & Company, Inc. reduced the use of sulfuric acid by approximately 697,000 lbs and sodium hypochlorite by 576,000 lbs between 1999 and 2000, a combined reduction of about 46%. The company achieved these reductions by modifying the process chemistry for the re-pulping of off-specification papers. The sulfuric acid was replaced with an innovative liquid carbon dioxide system and the sodium hypochlorite was reduced by specifying cleaner raw materials, and by controlling the temperature and pH of the process.
- An employee-owned company, Cranston Print Works Co. (CPW) achieved annual savings of over 110 million gallons of water and over $350,000 in costs by implementing 25 water conservation projects. These savings are attributed to the CPW's Water Conservation Team, which was formed in response to the company's commitment to continuous quality improvement.
- Crest Foam of Newburyport, Massachusetts recently embarked on an ambitious program to eliminate the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the firm's polyurethane foam process. The company eliminated the use of 190,000 lbs./year of methylene chloride by installing an innovative foam manufacturing process called the "Cardio Process". The Cardio Process uses CO2 instead of methylene chloride or CFC-11 as the auxiliary blowing agent. By making this change, Crest Foam avoided the need to install costly air pollution control equipment or reduce its production of foam products, either of which would have threatened the long-term survival of the facility.
- Spurred by a desire to meet the goals of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act, the managers of Cranston Print Works altered their wastewater pH adjustment process to eliminate the use of sulfuric acid. The company installed a jet aeration system with injected liquid carbon dioxide to replace the two 4,300-gallon sumps in which wastewater neutralization had previously taken place. This $115,000 project eliminated the annual use of 2.66 million pounds of sulfuric acid. Although financial profit was not the main goal of the project, the company saved about $80,000 per year in chemical purchase and maintenance costs.
The Delaware Valley Corporation has implemented several energy efficiency projects and a renewable energy project over the last six years that have not only improved their operations but also saved the company approximately $38,000 in gas and electric costs in 2011. These projects include the installation of three air-to-air heat exchangers, an upgrade of lighting and controls, and an investment in a solar photovoltaic (PV) system at their Tewksbury location. The total capital cost of these projects was $778,700.
Following the installation of the first two heat exchangers, OTA visited the facility and identified available rebates from the company’s gas and electric utility providers and funding opportunities for the solar PV system. Energy efficiency rebates from their local utility companies, coupled with state and federal renewable energy incentives, reduced the project costs to $207,000, a savings of about $571,000. The air-to-air heat exchangers saved the company almost $14,000 in gas costs in 2011. The energy efficient lighting saves the company about 89,700 kWh per year, or about $11,000 in annual electricity costs. The solar PV system generated more than 104,000 kWh in electricity in 2011, which saved Delaware Valley an additional $12,800 in electricity costs for that year. This system also generates Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) which produce between $3,000 and $5,000 per year in revenue.
In addition to these projects, the company has also enrolled in a demand response reduction program with a demand response provider in which they shut down most of their production during periods of high power demand on the electric grid (typically during the hottest summer days - production is made up during cooler night time periods.), which currently generates $2,200 in revenue annually.
- F.C. Meyer Company, a Lawrence, Massachusetts cardboard box manufacturer and printer, has trained its employees in "good housekeeping" practices and significantly reduced ink wastes and wastewater generated when cleaning the printing presses. The improved washing practices include draining and scraping as much ink as possible before washing and minimizing the amount of water used. Most of the ink wash water is now used to dilute concentrated virgin black ink. The decrease in wash water and the reuse of ink wastewater have resulted in a 90 percent savings in waste disposal as well as reduced costs for raw materials.
- GKN Sinter Metals Corporation (formerly known as The PresMet Corporation) implemented an on-site pretreatment and recycling operation, including a Hyde ultrafiltration unit that reduced GKN's total plant fresh water consumption by over 8 million gallons per year and soap consumption by more than 6,000 gallons per year. The same pretreatment operation also resulted in the reduction of copper, fat, oil, and grease to levels below the limits established by the local publicly owned treatment works (POTW). In addition to the environmental benefits, the installation of the pretreatment system resulted in savings of over $78,000 per year.
- In an ongoing effort to limit emissions and reduce use of hazardous chemicals, Hampden Papers spent four years researching, developing, testing and implementing a new coatings formulation used in over 70% of the company's manufacturing capabilities. The new formulation helps Hampden Papers reduce annual VOC emissions by 4-6 tons. More significantly, the change eliminates the use of ethylene glycol monobutyl ether and thereby frees the company from filing requirements under both the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) and Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) Section 313.
- Hampden Papers, Inc. reduced emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) by 97% by using new aqueous-based acrylics and other coating systems developed by a Massachusetts coatings manufacturer. The reduction of VOC has resulted in lower compliance costs, savings on insurance premiums, and a safer work environment. The avoidance of expenditures on VOC controls has helped Hampden to afford investments in high-quality production equipment.
- Inner-Tite Corporation, which had previously replaced its standard vapor degreasing equipment with two entirely enclosed vacuum vapor degreasing units, has now completely eliminated the use of the solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) with a switch to aqueous cleaning. In a previous case study, OTA reported that replacing the original degreasing equipment with units designed to prevent emissions reduced the company’s use of TCE by 97 percent. Four years later, Inner-Tite found the right combination of aqueous cleaner and equipment that was effective, but not too aggressive for the variety of metals and part configurations they produce. This allowed them to eliminate the use of TCE entirely and any potential for worker exposure or environmental risks from this “higher hazard substance”. With the new system, the parts are first mechanically degreased, then agitated in an aqueous solution. The whole cycle takes less than 8 minutes. The new aqueous cleaning system, which performs just as efficiently as the solvent units, saved the company nearly $2,500 per year in TCE purchasing costs, $1,100 per year in TURA reporting fees, and the costs and time spent on biennial planning. Eliminating the annual use of 2,675 pounds of TCE has also reduced the amount of time spent complying with hazardous waste and air rules, preparing for emergency response, and complying with OSHA regulations.
- The J. M. Perrone Company, an integrated printing and direct mail marketing firm, discovered that the technology of direct Computer-to-Plate (CTP) printing eliminates the need for prepress chemistry and removes the environmental hazards and costs associated with conventional film processing. Before making the change, the company purchased and used 205 gallons of chemicals at a cost of $1,595 per year. The company also disposed of 2,730 pounds of hazardous waste at a cost of $9,469 per year. In total, the company saved over $11,000 per year in material and disposal costs, $80,000 from the elimination of silver-based film and increased efficiency in their printing process lowering production time from 2 hours to 45 minutes - an estimated savings of $31.50 per hour.
Philips Lightolier has adopted several energy efficiency measures that have saved the company close to one million dollars annually. The facility, which manufactures lighting systems, reduced energy consumption for its own lighting needs and enhanced the efficiency of its air compression system by monitoring compressed air movement and upgrading factory lighting. Improving the compressed air system reduced electricity use by 531,951 kWh and saved approximately $66,000 in annual energy costs. In addition, Philips Lightolier replaced all of its lighting and fixtures with more energy efficient models. This project reduced electricity use by 570,000 kWh and saved close to $71,000 per year. In total, these energy efficiency measures have saved the company 1,101,951 kWh and $137,000 annually. Thanks to an incentive program through National Grid, Philips Lightolier reduced its out-of-pocket costs by nearly 70 percent for these energy efficiency projects from $237,921 to $76,511. Both of these projects had payback periods of less than nine months. Since OTA last worked with Philips Lightolier, the company implemented new projects to reduce natural gas and electricity use, including phasing out rooftop heaters and using heat generated from the new powder coating line for 50 percent of the factory’s comfort heat. This has reduced natural gas consumption by 42 percent and has saved $345,000 from 2007-2011. Additionally, Philips Lightolier has recently completed the installation of a 2.0 MW wind turbine generator. The turbine is expected to save the company $480,000 in annual energy costs.
Through a commitment by company management and a series of process changes, Philips Lightolier reduced their water consumption by 64 percent and saved nearly $242,000 annually starting in 2007. The company put together a team from different departments to evaluate manufacturing operations to find water conservation opportunities. By installing new equipment to reduce water pressure and improve the efficiency of rinsing processes, Philips Lightolier reduced annual water use by 58 million gallons. The cost for the changes was about $65,000 and the payback period was only three months. By updating current technology and implementing new conservation mechanisms, Philips Lightolier achieved significant water reductions throughout its entire facility.
Noor Oriental Rugs of Cambridge, Massachusetts is an importer and restorer of fine oriental rugs. Its founder, Mohammad Nooraee, is from a family that has been in the fine rug business for more than 300 years. Mr. Nooraee, a graduate of Tehran and Harvard Universities and a master weaver who consults to museums and lectures on rugs and Persian culture, travels abroad frequently to commission and select rugs from traditional weavers in the Middle East. In 2013, OTA staff provided assistance to Noor Oriental Rugs concerning whether it could make claims that its cleaning processes are “green”. (OTA is mandated to offer assistance in compliance with laws relating to toxics use). Staff informed Mr. Nooraee that guidance from the Federal Trade Commission (the “Green Guide”1) has clarified that it is legal to claim that a product or service is “green” only if the manner in which the claim is made is not misleading and the company can provide substantiation.
- By installing a recycling system for the coolant used on their roll threading machines, Olympic Manufacturing was able to reduce coolant disposal by 75% and solid waste disposal by approximately 88%. Prior to installation and operation of this recycling system, Olympic was discarding machining coolant after two days of use, generating roughly 600 gallons of waste coolant and two 55-gallon barrels of solid waste each week. The reduction in waste saved the company about $38,000 annually.
- Ophir Optics, a maker of infra-red lenses in North Andover, reduced their use of mineral spirits by 70% through careful calibration according to need. Following up from suggestions made by OTA during the on-site visit, the company pursued both alternative coolants and process optimization to reduce coolant use. Investigations of water-based coolants indicate substitution may even provide higher quality results, but the company must fully design a fluid capture and solids removal system in order to implement the change. In the meantime, four company employees - Hachmi Lasfar, Juan Acevedo, Ruben Caraballo, and Linh Dang - formed a Six Sigma project team to monitor the use of mineral spirits at each machine. The result of this investigation was a recognition that even when the mineral spirit use was significantly reduced, there was no diminution in quality in lens functioning. In fact, metered use rates and fine tuning several other operating parameters allowed even further reductions. Instruction was then provided to operator to set the flow controls for delivery of mineral spirits to the cutting site within a tight set of application parameters. This simple method of process control, involving no capital expense, reduced emissions (VOCs) by 3872 pounds and saved the company an estimated $15,000 annually in material costs. The company is pursuing options for further reduce VOC emissions; including evaluating alternative chemicals to perform the same function.
- Polartec, LLC sought an alternative cleaning chemistry to remove knitting lubricating oils - one that would not require the use of caustic soda, a TURA listed chemical, and would remove contaminants at ambient temperature. The company identified and substituted a less toxic chemical that worked well at the low temperature required during processing. The substitute not only removed the extractable oils, but also removed 76% of the silicone oils contained in the spandex that is used to knit the Polartec fabric®. After changing to the new cleaning alternative, Polartec was able to significantly reduce the time required for many dye cycles without compromising product quality. The reduced dye cycle times allowed the company to improve manufacturing efficiency by 16%, reduce chemical use by 10%, and lower utility costs by 12% through reduced steam and water use. In addition to these reductions, the company also implemented a number of energy efficient changes, which resulted in annual savings of close to $1 million, and it is working on additional changes that will generate energy onsite.
Seaman Paper Company has implemented several energy efficiency measures that have significantly reduced energy use and oil consumption and saved the company more than $4.6 million dollars in annual operating costs. These projects, which began in 1999, included the installation of two wood-fired boilers, an economizer/heat exchanger, energy-efficient lighting, variable frequency drives, and a backpressure steam turbine to cogenerate electricity and process steam. These combined improvements led to annual reductions of 4.5 million kWh in purchased electricity use, 2 million gallons of fuel oil and 5.9 million pounds in CO2 emissions.
- Sika Sarnafil, a division of Sika Corporation, is a leading manufacturer of high-tech thermoplastic membranes used in roofing and waterproofing systems. The company, which has a manufacturing plant in Canton, converts more than 98 percent of the raw material it receives into product. Since the early 1990s, Sika Sarnafil has recycled about four million pounds of trimmings annually from its manufacturing process - material previously destined for local landfills or third-party grinding companies to be shipped back to Canton. The company did not stop there. Very recently, Sika Sarnafil literally began taking resource recovery to new heights; it became the first company in its industry to recycle old vinyl roofs. Buoyed by its success in Massachusetts, Sika Sarnafil intends to expand its resource recovery program nationally.
- SouthCoast Technical Products made changes to their operating processes which brought the company into compliance with Massachusetts environmental regulations and led to significant reductions in water use. By switching from an elaborate ultra filtration unit to a simple bag filtration process, the company was able to reduce more than 200,000 gallons of water and save $37,000 per year.
Stainless Steel Coatings, Inc. (SSC), makers of STEEL-IT, a rugged, industrial coating used in corrosive and high-impact applications, has taken a number of steps to reduce toxics, improve energy efficiency, and increase worker safety. Input substitutions in the production process have reduced the company’s use of xylenes by 57% and eliminated hexavalent chromium. SSC has also been able to reduce its hazardous waste costs by 52% by implementing a new production schedule. Furthermore, through a partnership with OTA and the MassSave energy efficiency program, National Grid, and Prism Energy Services, SSC has made its facility more energy efficient, reducing energy costs by 20-25%. For Stainless Steel Coatings, environmental compliance and worker health and safety are integral parts of a collective company effort to improve product quality and find new applications in the competitive paint and coatings market.
- In the early 1970s, Tubed Products, Inc., of Easthampton, Massachusetts, introduced production changes to allow the use of 100 % solids ultraviolet curable inks to decorate plastic squeeze tubes. Approximately five years later the technology to cure epoxy coatings for the tubes became available, enabling the company to convert to ultraviolet curing in all decorating and coating operations. This means that inks and coatings no longer need to be dried by heat-evaporation of solvents, and thus toxic solvents are no longer evaporated off into the surrounding environment. These changes have also resulted in increased line speeds, energy savings and more economical use of floor space.
V.H. Blackinton & Co., Inc. has implemented several measures at their North Attleboro facility that reduced their use of hazardous substances [the use of Freon, anhydrous ammonia, and trichloroethylene was completely eliminated], conserved water, and improved energy efficiency. In a previous case study, OTA reported that the company reduced annual chemical use by nearly 67,700 pounds and water use by 6.5 million gallons that saved the company more than $12,500 per year. Recently, Blackinton implemented several energy conservation measures, including the installation of two high efficiency natural gas boilers that will lead to an expected $60,000 in annual savings, and a relamping project replacing old obsolete fixtures & lamps with new more efficient units to be completed in 2013. Through high level competence and skill of their Facilities/Toxics Use Reduction (TUR) team and guidance from OTA, the company has continued to reduce hazardous chemical use and implement process improvements.