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Ok so we all love our Swiss Army Knives right?  And I’m guessing we all like the green and blue rock we’re sat on too, right?  But you can’t possibly have both; I mean knives are made in dirty, smoky, factories, that are all environmental nightmares right?

Both Victorinox and Wenger have made enormous strides in making certain that there products and production processes have as small an environmental impact as is possible.
After a bit of detective work on my part I contacted both Victorinox and Wenger to find out what steps they took to insure that they caused no harm to the Earth we live in, and here are there replies……

Victorinox very recently was awarded a certificate by the Swiss Foundation for Environmental Protection for there Green efforts, here are the detail’’s……

Prize Winner 2008
Company Prize:
Victorinox AG, 6438 Ibach-Schwyz

In addition to its social commitments, this well-known manufacturer of pocket tools has made an environmentally compatible operation into its central corporate goal. With the constant involvement of its employees, the company has consistently aimed towards the achievement of an ecological optimum: through targeted energy saving measures with more efficient production, heat recovery and the substitution of mineral oil, through the comprehensive reduction of pollutants with closed systems and the treatment of waste water, as well as the careful use of raw material and the extensive implementation of recycling measures. In doing this, the company has also committed itself to sustainability through the manufacture of products that have a long service life and that are easy to repair.

Swiss Foundation for Environmental Protection

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees:
Dr. Jost Schumacher

So on to the Wenger camp.

Thanks to a very helpful person, I’’ve managed to find out the exact processes involved in ensuring that Wenger meet and exceed environmental standards……
Environment / Ecology
Water treatment :
  • Waste water of the polish department will be cleaned in our internal purification plant.
  • The cooling water of the grinding department will be conducted in a closed circular course. This circular course has its own water treatment plant.
  • Mid 2008 replacement of defective water urinals by new urinals without water
Air observance :
  • Two of the three heating installations must be renewed until 2010.
  • The polish machines are equipped with new dust collection.
  • In order to reduce odorous emissions we have installed coal filters.
  • The grinding department will be equipped with an air purification system until the end of 2008.
Energy consumption :
  • The buildings have been controlled with thermal scanning. We are making an analysis about heat wastes.
  • The waste heat of the air compressors will be used for heating. Further projects to use the waste heat of the production processes are planned.
  • In 2007 we have equipped all radiators with thermostatic valves.
  • Until the end of 2008 we shall renew all windows and blinds of the administration buildings.
  • Free cooling : in our production we use natural resources (spring water and river water) for some cooling processes.
  • Collaborators receive periodical an information program to save energy and water.
  • In 2007 most of the incandescent lamps have been changed in fluorescent lamps.
Security : according to FCOS instruction (Federal Coordination for Occupational Safety)
Waste products : separation of cardboard, paper and aluminum
sale of metal waste to dealers.  The synthetic material waste of the injection department will be if possible recycled.

So what does this all mean for us the humble collector/user of the ‘‘Little Red Toolbox’’?

Well it means we can continue in out pursuit of our passion in the knowledge that it’s having an as small environmental impact as is humanly possible. Add to that, that the very nature of our hobby means we’re all DIYers, and will tend to fix rather than replace wherever possible anyway!

So enjoy with a clear conscience.

I’d like to say a very big thank you to Mr Hans Schorno at Victorinox, and Ms Rebecca Kaslin at Wenger for there invaluable assistance in writing this article.