Success Stories



Governor's Awards
The Governor's Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Toxics Use Reduction Program was established in 1994 to recognize and award outstanding achievement in Toxics Use Reduction. Awards go to industrial or commercial businesses, public or private institutions, nonprofit organizations, community groups or other public and private enterprises or individuals who have demonstrated leadership and outstanding results in toxics use reduction. Winners are recognized for their role in reducing at the source the use, generation or release of toxic substances. The award program is designed to share success stories about the potential to facilitate long term improvement in environmental conditions through reductions in toxics use in manufacturing processes. The Program also serves to educate the consumer about personal purchasing practices which lead to the use of toxic materials in manufacturing operations and in the products used in homes and places of work.
In 1998, the Governor's Awards were presented to:

In 1997, Governor's Awards were presented for the following categories:

For more information about the awards, including how to apply and recipients in other years, contact Pat Gittes at 978-934-3129.
Governor's Awards for 1998
Boston Retail Products, Medford
Boston Retail Products is an established global leader in the manufacture of custom retail fixtures geared to home centers, supermarkets, and specialty retail stores. The Home Depot and Lowe's are its largest customers.
Led by President and Chief Executive Officer Gabriel Paci, Boston Retail Products made a serious commitment to worker health and safety and environmental protection. In 1995, the firm embarked on an aggressive program to reduce VOC emissions from its spray paint coating operations through alternative paint formulations. This effort required cooperation with various vendors and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), who agreed to allow the company to apply for a facility-wide Emission Control Plan (EPC) as opposed to a Title V air operating permit while it pursued coating formulations with reduced VOC content. Boston Retail Products developed specifications for the coating it desired, based on environmental parameters and product quality concerns. The company then tested four different coatings from various vendors before selecting the one that met its needs. By switching to the new formulation, eliminating the use of xylene (a hazardous air pollutant) for spray gun cleaning, and replacing older, inefficient spray guns with new highly efficient spray guns, Boston Retail Products achieved impressive results:

  • an 86 percent reduction in VOC emissions
  • a 49 percent reduction in hazardous waste generation
  • savings (in hazardous waste costs, reduced down time, increased process efficiency, regulatory costs) of $180,000 in the first year and $150,500 annually thereafter.
In addition, Boston Retail Products is striving to achieve further reductions by investigating powder coating applications, and evaluating a filtration and precipitation system to reduce wastewater discharges from the paint line cleaning process.
Perhaps the achievement of which CEO Gabe Paci is personally most proud is the company's improved worker health and safety record. Through improved safety procedures, Boston Retail Products reduced its lost workdays because of work-related injuries from more than 60 in 1993 to 0 in 1997. This achievement has helped cut workers' compensation liability insurance costs by $370,000, from a high of $450,000 in 1993 to $80,000 in 1997.
Contact: Bert McGrath, Manager of Manufacturing Engineering (781) 395-7417 ext. 506
RESCO, Madigan Station, Saugus
At Refuse Energy System Company's (RESCO) waste-to-energy plant in Saugus, sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide were used in large quantities in the ion exchange process for conditioning boiler feedwater. RESCO managers realized that there was great potential to save money on chemical purchases, ease compliance with TURA, and improve health and safety for workers if methods could be found to reduce the use of these two chemicals. By taking a hard look at procedures used in the ion exchange process of demineralization and resin regeneration of boiler water, RESCO found that some changes in standard operating procedures and vendor specifications could achieve the desired reductions.
The result:

  • a 67 percent reduction in sulfuric acid use (from 184,300 lbs. to 59,000 lbs.) and similar reduction in byproduct generation
  • a 64 percent reduction in sodium hydroxide use (from 141,100 lbs. to 51,100 lbs.) and a similar reduction in byproduct generation
  • annual savings of $37,500 in chemical purchase costs
  • an estimated payback period of less than three months
This achievement was a company-wide effort, involving a team composed of the facility manager, the EH&S compliance director, the operations manager, the water/wastewater/stream purity director, plant operators, and laboratory analysts. The team examined the true water quality needs of boiler operations, and identified which parameters could be changed, focusing specifically on the resin regeneration schedule and the specifications (performance, selectivity) of the resins themselves. Vendors were asked to participate when RESCO switched from standard purchasing contracts to "service performance" contracts, in which a chemical supplier gets paid a flat fee for ensuring that the water is conditioned as needed. In this manner, the chemical supplier has motivation to find new ways to minimize chemical use.
Because ion exchange technology is commonly used across many industry sectors by companies of all sizes, RESCO's low-cost TUR achievements have potentially widespread applicability. Using the RESCO model, facilities seeking to improve the efficiency of ion exchange system for TUR need to question which operation variables can be changed and weigh those changes against performance requirements and cost-benefits.
Contact: Steve Cacciola, Boiler Feedwater/Wastewater Technician, (781) 233-7600
Salisbury Wastewater Treatment Plant, Salisbury
Salisbury, a small seaside community near the New Hampshire border, faces unique challenges with wastewater treatment. The community's year-round population of 5,000 doubles during the summer months, and this influx of people creates dramatic flow fluctuations at the wastewater treatment plant. In addition, the increased operation of many restaurants and "fast food" establishments during the summer results in large amounts of grease entering the sewer system.
In 1988, a new state-of-the-art treatment plant was completed and put into operation. With vision and forethought on the part of town officials, the plant was designed to operate without the use of chemicals for treatment. Barscreens remove large solids at the headworks before the flow is channeled to a primary aerated lagoon where 60 percent of solids are removed by bacteria, and then to a secondary "polishing" lagoon where the small amount of remaining solids are settled out, and subject to natural treatment by additional bacteria or "bugs." The water then goes to a 10-acre system of rapid filtration sandbeds where the water is naturally cleansed, before being piped to an ultra-violet disinfection system. (The UV disinfection systems was chosen specifically to avoid the need to use chlorine for disinfection, and other chemicals for dechlorination to handle the disinfection byproducts of chlorination.) The clean water, which contains no residual treatment chemicals, is then discharged to the Merrimack River. An additional benefit of this system is that is produces very little residual sludge. No sludge has been removed from the system in its first decade of operation.
Early in its operations, the summer flow fluctuations combined with the seasonal grease load created operational problems (plugged sewer lines, fouled electronic controllers) and odors that brought complaints from many residents. The initial solution was presumed to be chemical treatment. The plant managers reluctantly made a bulk purchase of a chlorine solution, but immediately found problems with safely transporting and using the chemical. Furthermore, the chlorine solution was found to be only marginally effective in solving the problem. Further investigation found that a combination of a mechanical solution (high pressure flushing of the main pipes) and a natural solution (introducing speciality strains of grease-eating bacteria into the system) solved the problem.
The Town of Salisbury is very proud of its accomplishment in providing wastewater treatment without the use of chemicals. The minimum savings to the Town is estimated at $800 per month in chemical costs alone. But when the avoided costs of handling and disposing of sludge are factored in, the cost savings are thought to be much, much greater. But perhaps more importantly is the peace of mind of the municipal workers and nearby residents who don't have to worry about the potential health and safety and environmental affects of working and living near large quantities of toxic chemicals.
Contact: Jeff Ingalls, Chief Operator, (978) 465-4058
LePage's Incorporated, Gloucester
LePage's Incorporated, a manufacturer of adhesive tape, was determined -- through implementation of its toxics use reduction plan -- to reduce the usage of four TURA chemicals to the lowest possible quantities while still maintaining production of high quality products. The materials of concern were vinyl acetate, cyclohexane, toluene and ethyl acetate.
Dr. Peter West, a chemist, joined LePage's as Director of Research and Development in late 1993. Contrary to earlier internal opinions, he believed that adhesive reformulations and input substitution were viable options in the parallel search for cuts in TURA chemical consumption and product improvements. Dr. West put together a team composed of representatives from LePage's engineering, quality assurance and R&D departments, and this team worked in conjunction with vendors and Roxann Carstensen, an environmental consultant with Merrimack Environmental. After completing hundreds of tests using different solvents and adhesives, new adhesive formulations were derived that significantly reduced toxic chemical use, and improved product quality, dramatically increasing customer product acceptance. Specific results include:

  • A change in adhesive polymer composition eliminated vinyl acetate presence after August 1996
  • Only "cyclohexane free" adhesive formulations have been employed since November 1997.
  • 1997 usage of toluene and ethyl acetate were reduced by 57 percent and 66 percent, respectively, compared to 1992 usage.
In addition, LePage's has invested in a new system to hard pipe adhesive to mixing vessels thereby eliminating the need for employees to manually empty 55-gallon drums of adhesive and any resultant exposure to constituent chemicals. Furthermore, a new underground storage tank farm for solvents has been installed, sealed, capped and completely enclosed, providing nearly 100 percent capture of fugitive emissions, essentially eliminating exposure to workers and LePage's neighbors.
The success of this project has reinforced LePage's continuing commitment to investigate ways to reduce toxics, improve worker plus community health and safety, and improve production efficiency and product quality. LePage's also plans to be more active in educating the public about its environmental projects through news releases and invitations to tour the facility.
Contact: Dr. Peter West, Director of Research and Development/Quality Assurance, (978) 283-1000
Honorable Mention Recognition
Burlington Board of Health, Burlington
The Burlington Board of Health -- winner of the 1997 Governor's Award for Toxics Use Reduction for coordinating a pollution prevention outreach program for local business -- is recognized again in 1998 for another exemplary program. The health board established a recycling program for business for waste products such as fluorescent lamps, batteries, and computer components known to contain mercury or other heavy metals. In the past, when these products have been disposed of as solid waste, they have contributed to the release of these toxic metals to the environment. The Burlington program raised the awareness among local businesses of this environmental problem while also contributing to a solution: more than 51 Burlington firms responsible for the management of more than 100 buildings have participated in the recycling program, ensuring the safe disposal of approximately 10,000 linear feet of flourescent lighting, and seven 55-gallon drums of electric ballasts.
Contact: Todd Dresser, Environmental Engineer (781) 270-1956
Massachusetts Hospital School, Department of Public Health, Canton
The Massachusetts Hospital School, with a campus that includes 24 structures on 161 acres of land, has established comprehensive environmental and pollution prevention programs, earning recognition from the Commonwealth's "Buy Recycled" program, and earning an Environmental Merit Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England office. Among its many other achievements, the Massachusetts Hospital School's "Green Housekeeping Program" has reduced by half the quantity of chemical products used in cleaning the buildings, and reduced the toxicity in several product categories by switching to safer alternatives. The model programs were all motivated by the School's commitment to maintain a healthy and safe environment for the students and staff who live and work there. The Massachusetts Hospital School is used as an outstanding example for other state facilities of how pollution prevention and environmental programs can be incorporated into day-to-day operations.
Contact: Jonathan Goldberg, Support Services Administrator (781) 830-8361
Governor's Awards for 1997
Public Sector
Burlington Board Of Health
During inspections at local businesses, Burlington Board of Health Environmental Engineer Todd Dresser realized that many small and medium-sized companies shared similar compliance problems and missed opportunities for pollution prevention practices. Recognizing that limited staff and resources made it difficult for these firms to stay on top of regulatory and pollution prevention projects, he decided to offer them the information they needed in an easily accessible format. At Todd's initiative, the Burlington Board of Health developed the Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention Seminar Series which offered local businesses information on pollution prevention techniques and the variety of free assistance programs available to them. Three neighboring communities were invited to participate, and the seminars were publicized through local chambers of commerce and business round tables. The agenda included presentations by federal and state regulatory and assistance programs, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority and the Merrimack River Watershed Council. This highly successful seminar series has since been replicated by the Department of Environmental Protection in conjunction with other communities in the Greater Boston area. Since the series began, the relationship between the local business community and municipal regulatory agencies has improved through greater communication, understanding and mutual trust. Best of all, follow up inspections of local companies found that several seminar participants have implemented the pollution prevention techniques discussed at the seminars. Thus, the goal of the seminar series was achieved: local businesses have used pollution prevention strategies to solve regulatory problems and become more competitive, while improving the health and safety of workers and the community by using fewer toxic materials on site.
Contact: Brian A. Lockard, Health Agent, 781-270-1954
Industrial Sector - Fewer Than 100 Employees
Poly Plating Incorporated/Zero Discharge Technologies Incorporated
Poly Plating Inc., a nickel plating job shop, wanted to find a way to eliminate the need to dispose of large volumes of nitric acid used in the plating process. Company president Edwin Ondrick challenged all employees to come up with a method for recovering and reusing the nitric acid and metal it contained without creating hazardous waste. The result was an innovative diffusion dialysis system developed at Poly Plating Inc. by a spin-off company called Zero Discharge Technologies Inc. Ondrick issued his challenge at a time when there was no technology available that could economically recover mineral acids for reuse. Zero Discharge Technologies Inc. performed intensive research and testing, and eventually came up with the innovative diffusion dialysis system for which two U.S. patents have been granted for the design concepts. The only input required to perform the recovery is water. Further testing has found that the same system can be used for most mineral acids containing most metal pollutants, making it applicable for many different metal finishing processes. Using the acid recovery system, Poly Plating reduced its annual use of nitric acid from 100,000 pounds to 1,000 pounds, saving nearly $40,000 a year in chemical purchases and hazardous waste treatment costs. The $36,000 investment in the technology was recouped in less than a year. In addition, Poly Plating Inc. no longer is required to report nitric acid use under SARA or TURA, and worker health and safety has been improved by reduced exposure. A much smaller inventory of stored nitric acid has reduced the potential for an accidental release to the environment.
Contact: Tony D'Amato, Research Engineer, Zero Discharge Technologies, (413) 593-5477
Industrial Sector - 100-500 Employees
Tri-Star Technologies, Company, Incorporated
The management at Tri-Star Technologies Co, Inc. believes that sound environmental, safety and health practices are essential to efficient operations in the production of printed circuit boards. In keeping with this philosophy, the company sought ways to eliminate the 130 gallons per day of waste hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide created by its cupric chloride etch system, and recover the 165 pounds per day of "waste" copper generated by the same system. Tri-Star purchased an electrolytic regeneration unit, more typically used by larger circuit board makers for automated process control. By attaching the regeneration unit to its cupric chloride etch line, the company eliminated the use of hydrogen peroxide and reduced the use of hydrochloric acid by 90 percent,while eliminating 33,000 gallons annually of spent etch shipped off-site for recycling and recovering 42,000 pounds of copper per year. The company's payback for the $110,000 investment in the system was less than two years, considering costs including electricity, annual rebuilding of the anodes, the resale price of copper, chemical purchases, waste disposal, and regulatory reporting fees. In addition, the potential exposure of workers to harmful chemicals has been dramatically reduced, as have the potential liabilities associated with surface transportation and off-site treatment/recycling of hazardous wastes. Although electrolytic regeneration technology is not new, Tri-Star is leading the way in showing its cost-effective and environmentally beneficial application for smaller companies in the printed circuit board industry.
Contact: Edward A. Gomes, Safety/Environmental Support, Operations Director, 978-794-5129
Industrial Sector - 500 Or More Employees
Digital Equipment Corporation
Digital Equipment Corporation has a well-developed Environmental, Health, and Safety policy known as "Earth Vision" that applies to all operations including its semiconductor manufacturing operation in Hudson, Massachusetts. This corporate wide mission statement promotes TUR through a series of programs, policies and activities. For example, Digital semiconductor made a concerted effort to reduce the environmental impacts of its new fabrication facility in Hudson, known as Fab 6, when it came on line in 1995. Fab 6 introduced a sulfuric acid reprocessor with the capability of reprocessing 100% of the concentrated sulfuric acid used on site, avoiding disposal of 100,000 pounds of sulfuric acid in 1996. In addition Digital invented an aqueous circuit board cleaning technology, and shared the knowledge with its competitors, helping the electronics industry move away from CFC based cleaners. By 1996 Digital had eliminated the use of all Class 2 ozone depleting substances in manufacturing operations, following the successful elimination of Class 1 ODS in 1993. Digital is also a leader in water conservation in an industry where water use is extremely intensive. Between 2000 and 3000 gallons of high purity water are used for each semiconductor wafer processed in a typical U.S. semiconductor plant. The recovery and reuse of water in these processes has ben discussed for many years in the semiconductor engineering community, but was dismissed as presenting too high a risk of contaminating very expensive products and processes. Digital made a commitment to developing an engineering solution to water reclamation and recycling in its facilities in Cupertino, California and Hudson, and succeeded in grand fashion. The company's Hudson plant achieved water recycling rates of 180 gallons per minute or 50% of the total high purity water used in the semiconductor fabrication process. This translates into a reduction of water use by more than 94 million gallons per year, saving the company $225,000 annually in municipal water and sewer use fees. Digital has shared information on this achievement with several engineering and manufacturing firms, as well as R & D groups and academic institutions. The efforts at Digital have been true to its Earth Vision policy. More importantly, Digital has gone out of its way to share the details of its successes with others, helping the electronics industry as a whole to move toward the reduced use of toxic materials.
Contact: John Burkitt (978) 493-7365.
Private Sector -- Partnerships (Printing, Dry Cleaning, and Auto Body)
Four trade associations and two consulting firms joined forces with federal and state regulatory and assistance agencies, vendors and others on projects to improve compliance by increasing the understanding of environmental, health and safety regulations and pollution prevention opportunities in three industrial sectors characterized by small operations. In each case, the private sector partners provided industry representation in development of the projects, and then served as industry liaison, providing knowledge about the industrial processes and helping to reconcile the realities of the industrial processes with the environmental goals of the regulatory agencies. The result of all these projects has been a greatly improved understanding and working relationship between government and the industry sectors involved, and widespread dissemination of pollution prevention strategies among small businesses who may not have found easy access to this information otherwise.
The partners and the projects they worked on include:
Printing Industry
The Natick-based Printing Industries of New England (PINE), Goldman Environmental Consulting of Braintree, and Mabbett & Associates of Bedford contributed greatly to the success of the Massachusetts Printers Partnership (MP2). The predecessor of the Massachusetts Environmental Results Program, MP2 offered printers who voluntarily participated a multi-media "plain language workbook" and self-certification option to replace air, wastewater and hazardous waste permits and fees. The success of this project paved the way for the Environmental Results Program (ERP), as well as many similar projects throughout the country, including the U.S. EPA's Common Sense Initiative Flexible Multimedia Permitting Project.
Contact: James Tepper, President; Stig Bolgen, Partner Printing Industries of New England, (508) 655-8780
Larry Goldman, President; Robert Fricke, Partner, Goldman Environmental Consulting (617) 356-9140
Arthur Mabbett, President; Mark Flannery,Partner,Mabbett & Associates (781) 275-5651
Dry Cleaning Industry
The Wakefield-based North East Fabricare Association and the Korean Dry Cleaners Association of New England, based in Arlington, were key players in the Environmental Results Project (ERP) for Dry Cleaners Project and the Compliance Technician Training Program. The ERP for Dry Cleaners is a mandatory program for dry cleaners that provides for replacement of state permits with a multimedia plain language workbook and self-certification program. The Compliance Technician Training Program, developed by the Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance, trains representatives of the trade associations as "compliance technicians" to provide compliance and pollution prevention assistance to dry cleaning professionals who request the service. The Compliance Technician Program is an innovative method of increasing non-regulatory compliance and pollution prevention assistance available to the dry cleaning community. Some of these technicians will speak Korean in order to assist approximately 30 percent of the state's dry cleaners who are Korean-speaking.
Contacts: Peter Blake,Executive Vice President and Partner, North East Fabricare Association, (800)442-6848
Myeong Ho Lowe, President and Partner, Korean Dry Cleaners Association of New England, (781)648-4783
Auto Body Industry
The Massachusetts Auto Body Association based in Braintree worked with the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the Massachusetts' Attorney General's Office, the Massachusettts' Department of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Occupational Safety, the Division of Standards, the City of Boston Environmental Strike Team, the Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association, and several individual auto body shop owners on the Massachusetts Joint Auto Body Project. Similar to the other industry- specific projects, this voluntary program provided extensive outreach to auto body shops, featuring information on pollution prevention opportunities and a "plain language" workbook.
Contact: Lucky Papageorg, Executive Director and Partner, Massachusetts Auto Body Association - (617)848-6960

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