May 6, 2010
Gentix Optics Recognized for Environmental Leadership by TURA Program
Dudley, Mass. – The Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) program and state legislators today presented Gentex Optics, a company of Essilor International, with an award in recognition of the company’s environmental leadership demonstrated by its manufacturing facility in Dudley, Mass.
Gentex Optics, an employer of 430 people in the Massachusetts, is one of only 17 Massachusetts companies being honored this spring by the 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 and energy savings—since the Toxics Use Reduction Act legislation was passed in 1989.
“We selected Gentex Optics as one of the best environmental leaders in Massachusetts because of its emphasis on innovation and continuous improvement not only in product quality but also in environmental, health and safety processes,” said Janet Clark, Senior Associate Director of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell. “We also appreciated the company’s willingness to share their wisdom so that their colleagues in other Massachusetts companies could learn from their leadership.”
Gentex Optics, the largest manufacturer in the Dudley, Mass. area, produces corrective lenses and, more recently, coatings for the ophthalmic industry worldwide. When Gentex Optics was acquired by Essilor in 1995, the Dudley facility was transformed with new buildings and equipment including automation.
One of the company’s more recent environmental accomplishments includes an 87 percent reduction of solvents used in the coating process. By using bio-filtration for the control and destruction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from the lens coating process, the company has reduced emissions up to 90 percent.
“Gentex Optics is honored to receive such a prestigious recognition for our efforts in leadership and corporate responsibility for protecting the environment in which we live and work,” said Bill Van Wieren, Gentex Dudley Plant Manager. “We are thrilled to be viewed as a company that cares. Our people are our strength and it goes without saying that you cannot achieve this type of recognition without great people in your organization. In addition, we appreciate the opportunities to learn and share through the support and activities of TURI. The state of Massachusetts is fortunate to have such an organization that provides the tools and resources to help local businesses reduce the use of toxic chemicals in an economical way.”
Gentex Optics conservation efforts over the last three years have resulted in the reduction of water use by 4.5 million gallons per year, or 34 percent.
Gentex Optics conservation efforts over the last three years have resulted in the reduction of water use by 4.5 million gallons per year, or 34 percent. The company expects the last two years of energy conservation projects to result in a reduction of 2.2 million kWh per year. All of the company’s environmental accomplishments have been conducted in the framework of an Environmental Management System, a systematic process used by companies to continuously improve health and the environment. Gentex Optics continues to work on water and energy conservation, chemical use reduction, waste reduction and recycling projects.
The Toxics Use Reduction Act does not ban chemical use but requires companies to evaluate toxic chemical use, submit usage reports and plans to the state that assess the financial implications of switching to safer alternatives or making changes in production. Since 1989, Massachusetts companies voluntarily reduced toxic chemical use by 41 percent, waste by 71 percent and on-site releases by 91 percent.
For more information on “TURA 20th Anniversary Leaders,” visit www.turi.org.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.