Health and environment
Swix will use the most environmentally friendly technology available to minimize our footprint in nature. In addition, we have a high focus on environmental awareness in all parts of our production. Everything from the choice of raw materials, to the use of recyclable packaging and focus on energy consumption.
Wax and environment
About. 95% of the glidewax being applied is scraped and brushed off before skiing and handled as waste. The latest percentages, along with waxing, are what could potentially end in nature. It is important to us that this proportion has the least possible impact on the environment and that the products have a satisfactory ability to break down.
Challenges associated with wax residues in nature are mainly related to fluor, and its chemical properties. The sections below illustrate fluor in use in the ski slope, what Swix does and how we look at the future.
Skiing and fluoride
After Italian environments produced fluor compounds that could be used for skiing in the 80s, fluorinated waxes and powders have been part of top-level skiing. Fluor has unique water and dirt repellent properties. Fluor compounds also have good dry friction properties, and together this makes them very suitable for use in ski drying.
After a few years, researchers discovered that some fluor compounds, such as PFOS and PFOA, have properties that make them less environmentally friendly. These are therefore now regulated by the authorities. Swix products are and have always been in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
What does Swix do?
PFOS and PFOA have never been used as raw materials in ski cleaning from Swix, but they arose as a pollution in production. This is due to the C8 technology used in the production of the fluorine compounds. As the knowledge of PFOA's environmental impact became available, the Swix made the decision to change production technology and switch to better environmental profiles.
This work started back in 2009 and after several years of testing and product optimization, Swix launched in 2013 new LF sliders marked with FUTURE CERA®.
FUTURE CERA® is Swix's labeling of products guaranteeing that the product contains the most environmentally friendly fluor technology available. SWIX was the first manufacturer of ski touring that exploited this technology without loss of performance.
In 2013 Swix also started the project LowFriMat together with SINTEF, TOKO and Italian Miteni. The objective was to identify compounds, with or without fluoride, with an improved HSE profile. Since 2013, research (Nilsson et.al.) has shown that the fluor compounds used in sliding wax can also be broken down to PFOA if they are based on old fluor technology (C8 technology).
One of the results from LowFriMat is that C8 technology was phased out by Swix HF and Swix HFBW products during 2016. Today, these products, like the LF sliders, are labeled FUTURE CERA® so that they are easily identified by our customers as the most environmentally friendly fluor technology on the market.
PFOA and national regulations
In 2014, the Norwegian and German authorities took on their own initiative to regulate PFOA and PFOA-related compounds (PFOA precursors). In 2016, ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) also came up with a proposal for an even more comprehensive and stricter regulatory framework that will affect all C8 technologies, including fluorine powders. Swix closely follows the further developments and will be at the forefront of new regulations that may come.
Swix has been ahead of the regulations and re-engineered the technology earlier than necessary. This shows that we take social responsibility and want to drive the industry in a more environmentally friendly direction. The complete phase out of fluoride in ski run has proved to be a demanding task. 60% of all SWIX grows are already fluor-free and we are constantly working to increase this proportion. All waxes that are fluor-free have got the green mark, FLUOR FREE.
By introducing the FLUOR FREE brand, we want to draw attention to our environmentally friendly and biodegradable products. We see great opportunities in fields such as nanotechnology, hybrid materials as well as surface and "coating" technology. Our breakthroughs and advances in technology will benefit our customers immediately. Swix can therefore offer very environmentally friendly products without fluor in all categories of ski wax, gliding, kick wax and wax in the "easy wax" segment.
Safety Data Sheets
The security aspect is central to all product development in Swix. If you are looking for more information about our products beyond what is on the packaging, you can visit the link below where you will find safety data sheets for all wax products in our range.
For private Waxing Cabins (download our Waxing regulations.pdf )
When possible, use eco-friendly and biodegradable waxes and products.
- Make sure that the waxing facility is well ventilated.
- Always use a mask with the recommended filter (minimum A1P3) when applying and brushing wax products. Don’t forget that particles can be retained in the air for quite a while.
- Make sure your mask is properly adjusted, and, as a minimum, replace the filter at the start of each season. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations.
- Wear suitable gloves when handling ski cleaner and other liquid products.
- Do not heat the waxing iron to a temperature higher than necessary, and make sure to wipe the iron clean after application. The particle concentration rises as the difference increases between the melting point and waxing iron temperature.
- Do not use heating guns and gas burners in the waxing facility. Using these tools in the presence of airborne particles that contain fluorine risks generating toxic fumes.
- Smoking is prohibited in the waxing facility. Smoking and airborne particles is an extremely hazardous mix.
- Do not eat or drink in the waxing facility.
- Make sure to collect any waxing residue and dispose of it in the appropriate contain.
- Wash your hands once you have finished waxing the skis.