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Ophir Optics Recognized for Environmental Leadership

Contact: Karen Angelo at 978-430-6303, Karen@turi.org.

April 16, 2015, North Andover, Mass. – The Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) program and state legislators today presented Ophir Optics LLC of North Andover with an award in recognition of the company’s environmental leadership.

One of nine companies across Massachusetts being recognized as a “TURA 25th Anniversary Leader,” Ophir Optics applied Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma tools to reduce toxic chemical use and increase energy efficiencies in its manufacturing operations.

Ophir Optics worked with the state’s Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) engineers to find ways to reduce its use of volatile organic chemicals and generation of hazardous waste. The company also received a demonstration grant from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) to share their accomplishments with other Massachusetts companies.

“It has been a pleasure working with the team at Ophir Optics that has taken our suggestions and applied process analysis to achieve not only production efficiencies and pollution prevention, but also remarkable cost savings,” says Jim Cain, Team Leader of the Office of Technical Assistance. “End result - a Massachusetts company that has become more competitive globally.”

The company reduced volatile organic chemicals by 70 percent, saving $15,000 and reduced the quantity of hazardous waste shipped by two-thirds, saving $60,000 in associated costs. The company also achieved $1 million in efficiency improvements by implementing a standardized workflow in manufacturing.

“We appreciate this award which reflects our employee culture of continuous improvement,” says Tim Petter, Director of Operations at Ophir Optics. “We apply this to all parts of our business, from the substances we use, to our designs and to our manufacturing processes. We do this work because it’s good for the environment, our workers and our bottom line.”

Read more about Ophir Optics accomplishments in the case study.

The awards and facility tours taking place from March through May showcase environmental accomplishments--reducing the use of toxic chemicals, reducing waste and conserving energy and water—since the Toxics Use Reduction Act was enacted into law by the Massachusetts legislature in 1989.

About the Toxics Use Reduction Act Program

The Toxics Use Reduction Act does not restrict chemical use but requires companies to evaluate toxic chemical use, submit usage reports to the state and assess the implications of reducing use by making process changes or switching to safer alternatives. Data show that Massachusetts companies continue to make progress in reducing toxic chemical use and waste: between 2000 and 2012, companies reduced use by 23 percent, waste by 42 percent and on-site releases by 73 percent.

Celebrating 25 Years
 Twenty-five 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 compete globally as more international regulations restrict the use of toxic substances.

  • 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.
Ophir Optics Event Photos