Solvent Use Reduction Case Studies

These companies have taken steps to eliminate or reduce their use of solvents.

Solvent Use Reduction Case Studies A-Z

912 Auto Center

This auto shop now uses water-based paints for the majority of the work conducted at the shop and purchased a new paint gun washer that uses water-based cleaning material. These changes have saved the shop money and reduced its use of solvents and solvent-based paints.


Acushnet Rubber Company

The company now known as Precix reduced its use of trichloroethylene (TCE) in vapor degreasing operations from 40,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds over 7 years and eliminated its use of methylene chloride.


Allston Collision Center

This auto shop switched to water-based paints, installed a solvent recycling machine, and began an extensive recycling program. These efforts have resulted in reduced VOCs, solvent, and annual shop costs.


Averica Discovery Services

Averica uses supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) instead of conventional liquid chromatography. When compared with conventional liquid chromatography, SFC replaces the use of more toxic chemicals with pressurized carbon dioxide. This limits the use of hazardous solvents consumed during chromatography.


ChemGenes Corporation

The first phase of the company’s toxics use reduction efforts began in 2005 when OTA provided recommendations that led to the company reducing their annual chloroform use by 61% and hexane use by 42% by 2014.

ChemGenes started the second phase of their activities in 2012, with the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell awarding them an incentive grant to help offset capital costs for a new system to recover and recycle hexane and ethyl acetate.


Crest Foam

This company, now known as Innocor, eliminated the use of 190,000 pounds per year of methylene chloride by installing an innovative foam manufacturing process.


Franklin Paint Company

Franklin Paint dramatically eliminated the use of xylene and methanol in its paint, reduced the use of other TURA reportable substances, and improved safety in the workplace while increasing overall paint production.

The company eliminated the use of approximately 150,000 pounds of methanol, 50,000 pounds of xylene, and 500,000 pounds of toluene per year.


Hampden Papers, Inc.

Hampden Papers implemented a new coatings formulation used in over 70% of the company’s manufacturing capabilities. The new formulation resulted in the reduction of annual volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions by 4-6 tons and eliminated the use of ethylene glycol monobutyl ether.



Inner-Tite Corporation

The company replaced its original degreasing equipment with units designed to prevent emissions reduced the company’s use of trichloroethylene (TCE) by 97%.

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.


Mark Richey Woodworking, Inc.

The company has reduced its annual use of lacquer thinner, acetone and VM&P Naptha, denatured alcohol purchased, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in coatings.


Ophir Optics

Ophir Optics designs and produces a full range of high performance Infra‐red (IR) optical lenses and elements. Since 2009, the company has successfully utilized Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma tools and methodologies for a variety of projects, including toxics use reduction. As a result, it has reduced its annual mineral spirit consumption by approximately 6,000 pounds and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 70%.


S.E. Shires

This Massachusetts maker of fine brass instruments has worked with OTA to successfully reduce the use of toxics. Trichloroethylene (TCE), previously used to remove buffing compound and pitch residues, has been replaced with aqueous and semi-aqueous cleaners. This change eliminated the use of TCE in the process (approximately 3,600 pounds annually). Methylene chloride used in refinishing has been replaced with an aromatic alcohol; eliminating the use of methylene chloride at the facility (about 300 pounds annually).

S.E. Shires Case Study


Shawmut Corporation

Shawmut is a producer of coated and laminated materials used to create automotive headliner and interior trim materials, disposable medical products, protective work suits, military textiles and more. Since 1990 the company has worked to reduce its use and emissions of trichloroethylene (TCE). 


Stainless Steel Coatings, Inc.

Beginning in the early 2000s, Stainless Steel Coatings sought ways to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in their products. Input substitutions in the production process have reduced the company’s use of xylenes by 57%.


Tubed Products

This company, now known as Berry Global, Inc., was able to eliminate its use of solvent-based inks by changing its production process to allow the use of 100% solids ultraviolet curable inks to decorate plastic squeeze tubes. Later, additional technology became available which enabled the company to convert to ultraviolet curing in all decorating and coating operations. 


V.H. Blackinton & Co.

The company switched from using trichloroethylene (TCE) for parts cleaning to an aqueous system.

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