Facility Leadership Tour
N E W S R E L E A S E
March 30, 2010
Ferraz Shawmut Recognized for Environmental Leadership by TURA Program
Reductions in toxics and water result in hundreds of thousands of dollars saved
LOWELL, Mass. – At a ceremony today, representatives of the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) Program and state dignitaries presented Ferraz Shawmut in Newburyport with an award to acknowledge the company’s environmental leadership in Massachusetts.
Ferraz Shawmut began working with the state’s Office of Technical Assistance in 1994 to find safer substitutes to hazardous substances used in manufacturing. Today, Ferraz Shawmut is one of 17 Massachusetts companies being recognized by the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) Program as a “TURA 20th Anniversary Leader.” The awards and facility tours are intended to showcase environmental accomplishments — use of safer materials, waste reductions, water conservation and energy savings — since the Toxics Use Reduction Act was enacted by the Massachusetts legislature in 1989.
“We selected Ferraz Shawmut as a leader because of their continuous hard work for more than 15 years replacing toxics, reducing waste and conserving water,” said James Cain, senior environmental engineer at the TURA program’s Office of Technical Assistance that provides free, confidential onsite assistance to Massachusetts companies. “They have always been open to innovative new ideas, resulting in the company saving money while protecting the environment and workers.”
Ferraz Shawmut eliminated the use of 35,000 pounds per year of trichloroethylene (TCE), a hazardous solvent subject to increasing regulatory requirements, by replacing it with a water-based cleaning solution. This substitution created a safer work environment and saved the company tens of thousands of dollars in management costs annually. The company has also reduced lead used in solder from over 2,000 pounds per year to less than 500 pounds per year, and reduced lead use in brass from 70,000 to 25,000 pounds per year.
“It has been very beneficial to our company over many years to tap the extensive knowledge of the experts at the Office of Technical Assistance,” said Richard Robbins, Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety Manager at Ferraz Shawmut, who has been employed at the company for 36 years. “Companies have come a long way from the days when profits and environmental stewardship were thought of as opposing forces. We are proof that what’s good for the environment, can most definitely be good for the bottom line.”
The Toxics Use Reduction Act was expanded in 2006 to include water conservation and waste reduction — and Ferraz Shawmut has achieved significant improvements in these areas as well. During an onsite visit, the Office of Technical Assistance recommended techniques for machine coolant management and recycling. The changes that Ferraz Shawmut implemented resulted in the coolant lasting more than twice as long, leading to a reduction in waste generation. Using the more efficient cooling technology, the company has reduced water use since 1993 by 90 percent, from 6 million gallons to 64 thousand gallons per year. In addition, the reductions in solids recovered from wastewater are at a lower level which is no longer classified as hazardous waste by the state.
The Toxics Use Reduction Act does not ban chemical use but requires companies to evaluate toxic chemical use, and submit usage reports and plans to the state. The plan assesses the financial implications of switching to safer alternatives or making changes in production. Since 1989, Massachusetts companies have voluntarily reduced toxic chemical use by 41 percent, waste by 71 percent and on-site releases by 91 percent.
For a full schedule of company tours, visit www.turi.org.
About Ferraz Shawmut
Ferraz Shawmut is a global leader offering electrical protection solutions. Drawing on a century of experience—and an ongoing commitment to critical research in electrical safety—it provides industrial, commercial, and OEM customers with innovative products and technical support teams to increase effectiveness, simplify applications, and enhance productivity. The company’s comprehensive product line includes current-limiting fuses and accessories, fuse blocks and holders, power distribution blocks, low voltage disconnect switches, overvoltage protection, high power switches, thermal management and more. The company prides itself on delivering innovative, problem-solving products like Amp-Trap 2000® fuses, Surge-Trap® Surge Protective Devices, the Thermally Protected Metal Oxide Varistor (TPMOV®), the SmartSpot® open-fuse indicator, UltraSafe™ fuse holders, Select-A-Fuse® software, and Fabfin® heatsinks. For more information, visit www.us.ferrazshawmut.com.
About the Toxics Use Reduction Act Program
Twenty years ago, the Massachusetts legislature passed landmark legislation—the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA). Today, the TURA Program is considered a model environmental policy by other states and countries. The three agencies below have provided training, grants, technical assistance and support to help companies reduce toxic chemical use and costs, improve health and safety and establish new green markets.
- Office of Technical Assistance & Technology (OTA). A non-regulatory agency within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs that provides free, confidential, on-site technical and compliance consultations to Massachusetts businesses and institutions.
- Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Provides education, training, and grants for Massachusetts industry and communities; sponsors research and demonstration sites on safer materials and technologies; provides policy analysis; and manages the TURA Science Advisory Board.
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Certifies Toxics Use Reduction (TUR) Planners, receives and reviews toxics use reports submitted by companies, provides guidance, takes enforcement actions, and collects chemical use data and makes it available to the public.