Swish Environmental Actions 2015

Swish achieved ISO14001 Environmental Management Certification in 2007. Since that time Swish has continuously improved the environmental performance of its manufacturing and distribution operations. In 2015 Swish achieved ISO50001 Energy Management Certification, a further demonstration of the company’s commitment to continuing environmental improvement.

2015 Report

Swish Building Products is an industry leader in the efficient production of cellular PVCue and PVCu products. We recognise that it is becoming increasingly important to use our material and energy resources more efficiently, effectively and with greater regard to the environmental effects that flow from their use.

The Swish Resource Use Policy sets out the company’s commitment to reducing and refining its use of resources based on the principles of Vinyl Plus, the European PVC industry’s own commitment to meaningful environmental action over the period to 2020.

In 2007 Swish achieved ISO14001 Environmental Management Certification and as a result has improved its performance in terms of production efficiency and waste management. This in turn has led to significant reductions in energy inputs, water usage and scrappage rates during manufacture. Improvements in our transport efficiency have led to better levels of service and reductions in fuel usage.

These represent the most obvious and effective actions that the company could take in the short to medium term in order to make meaningful reductions in resource use.

2015 Improvement Actions and 2016 Plans

Electricity consumption continues to be one of the most challenging areas for reductions in usage. The process improvement team continued to roll out the installation of new low consumption vacuum pumps and LED lighting. High performance, low energy chillers were installed in part of the factory and an old dust fan in the regrind area was replaced with a modern, low consumption unit.

Plans for 2016 include the completion of the vacuum pump installation scheme, another low consumption chiller and LED lighting in the office area. The injection moulding plant will be measured systematically to form a full baseline picture of this recently installed operation in order to identify problem areas for improvement.

Water usage reduction has been one of the remarkable success stories of the Swish environmental programme. The site used 30% less water in 2015 than in 2014. Two new high efficiency chillers installed during the year not only reduced the electricity requirement but decreased the amount of water lost during cooling. More sub-meter monitoring was undertaken and as a result issues of non-standard usage were flagged up more quickly. There are currently no more plans for improvements in 2016.

The Company's Environmental achievements during 2015 and since 2008 look like this:

 Emissions of Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) from operations Tamworth   2015 ActualChange since 20082016 Target
Electricity +2.3% -30.55% -3%
Heating Oil -29.1% -68.4% Maintain
Water -26.6% -71.9% Maintain


Swish Transport Report 2015

Swish is committed to continuous improvement in the environmental performance of its delivery fleet in order to minimize its impact on the environment.

In order to do this we monitor the number of miles that our delivery vehicles cover and the fuel that they consume over that distance. We can then tell how efficient we are in our delivery operations and as a result monitor the effect of strategies we put in place to reduce our fuel usage.

To achieve the considerable efficiencies since 2008 we have put in place some carefully monitored actions:
  • The Swish transport fleet is regularly updated to continue to take advantage of improvements in vehicle emission levels and fuel usage. Our main fleet is Euro5 compliant but in June 2015 we took delivery of Euro6 compliant trucks which are extremely efficient
  • All our vehicles are regularly maintained  to a high standard ensuring that they all perform at their optimum
  • Because our fleet is so efficient we use our own vehicles on longer routes and use subcontract vehicles only when necessary.
  • We monitor load utilisation and have invested in software to maximise loads and reduce mileage.
  • We train all our drivers to help them improve fuel usage and on our new vehicles we will have driver assist information to advise drivers in real time on optimum driving techniques to reduce fuel consumption.
  • Some of our vehicles have had their maximum speed lowered in order to reduce fuel consumption.

Diesel usage was always going to be an unknown for 2015. During the year the Telford warehouse was closed and all operations brought to Swish’s Tamworth site. No vehicle movements out of Telford had been previously recorded and so for 6 months of 2015 these movements came into the Tamworth figures. These figures were recorded and will be used in conjunction with 2016’s figures to set a proper baseline for the expanded transport operation out of Tamworth. During the year and addition 6 vehicles (Euro 6 compliant) were leased to further minimise emissions at Tamworth.

During 2016 there will be further work undertaken on route and load optimisation as the new warehousing facility beds in.

The Company's Transport achievements during 2015 and since 2008 (benchmark year), look like this:



2015 Actual

Change since 2008

2016 Target

Moving Impacts (Transportation)

Transport Vehicle Fuel, LPG



New benchmark

As a result of forthcoming changes to our warehousing arrangements during 2015, we will be viewing 2015 as a bench mark year and not setting a CO2 reduction target.


Waste Prevention

Since 2010 Swish has collected and sorted its own cardboard, paper, polythene, wood and metal waste. The remaining general (unsorted) waste is collected by Swish’s waste processing partner Briers.

All of the sorted and unsorted waste is reprocessed by Briers and a report supplied to Swish on a monthly basis showing the outcome of the sorting process.

Since 2010 no waste has gone directly from the Swish site to landfill.

Swish reports its waste figures in two forms. In overall terms during 2014 the following waste was collected and processed:

  • Production & office waste recycled (primarily card, poly, paper, wood and metal).
  • General waste (unsorted).

Non Recycled Waste has risen considerably (25%) as the number of deliveries to the Tamworth site has increased. The new warehouse has generated large amounts of waste during the installation and commissioning period. The stockholding on site has also increased with consequential changes in the waste generated.

2016 will be used as a baseline year in which to measure the whole site’s performance. During the year there will be a programme to improve the management of waste streams in order to ensure that all recyclable waste can be captured.

 Emissions of Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) from operations TamworthElements2014 ActualChange since 20082016 Target
Production & office wastePrimarily card, poly, paper, wood and metal+25.0%+115.1%New baseline
General wasteUnsorted waste+0.6%-50.7%New baseline

Swish is a highly efficient manufacturer that creates little waste. Any manufacturing waste that is generated, including saw dust from in line saws, is recycled back into the production process.

Waste from raw material transportation and storage is minimised by the use of silo storage and supplier control of the material levels in those silos.


Future Resource Use

The following report sets out the actions that Swish is taking to:

  • improve future resource use at end of life
  • and the measures that Swish takes to engage with its staff and supply chain to promote behavioural change and share best practice.

Future Resource Use

The Short to Medium Term -
The reductions in energy inputs, water usage and scrappage rates referred to above represent the most obvious and effective actions that the company could take in the short to medium term in order to make meaningful reductions in resource use. The key to these reductions is a policy of close monitoring and incremental changes based on purchasing high quality, low energy consumption and low maintenance equipment.

The Longer Term -
It is important to note the following facts about PVC in general and cellular PVC in particular.

  • PVC can be recycled up to 8 times depending on the application, because the recycling process does not measurably decrease the chain length of PVC molecules
  • A study completed in 2011 on behalf of DG Environment (European Commission), estimated the amount of construction/demolition waste to be around 460 million tonnes in 2005. Plastics waste accounted for less than 2% of this waste. The amount of PVC waste represents less than 0.4 % of the total amount of construction waste. In parallel, a study published in 2000 by Prognos estimated that PVC represented less than 1 % of municipal solid waste (MSW) – Source Vinyl Plus Website. 

So PVC can be recycled many times over but because of its longevity the amounts of PVC available in PCW format are extremely small. It has been estimated that 2,700 tons of scrap are generated during installation and that less than 100 tonnes of cellular PVC is removed from buildings under refurbishment each year. This represents a tiny fraction of the cellular PVC industry’s annual output and even if it were recoverable as clean material it would not constitute a viable source of material on which to base production planning.

Swish has looked at its options for reclaiming and reusing the installation waste element above and has identified the major barriers to implementation that face the company and the industry:

  • Volume – the volume of waste scrap available industry wide in an easily processable form is very low and does not constitute a reliable waste stream in terms of predictable volumes.
  • Human nature – Any successful method of scrap collection (eg special bag) will have to be easy/convenient to use and be positioned close to the point where the scrap is generated. Experience in the window frame industry has pointed to the likelihood that a variety of plastic and other scrap will be included with any PVC offcuts such that processing costs are likely to be high to filter and clean the specific materials that can be brought in for recycling.
  • Material type – It is important that we only incorporate scrap from our own cellular PVC products and not scrap from other cellular PVC manufacturers or scraps of non-cellular or rigid PVC.
  • Cleaning – Swish possesses the capacity to regrind and recycle clean boards of a larger size. However are not able to clean and grind smaller or contaminated pieces of PVC. Therefore the preferred route to cleaning would be with an experienced collection and reprocessing partner.
  • Transportation costs – When a process partner is involved in the equation the costs of transportation start to become a significant factor in the viability of any such scheme.


Alternative material sources

An alternative approach is to use appropriate recycled PVC from other sources. Swish has started to look at other recyclable materials as an alternative to cellular PVC off cuts. Plastic bottles present a possible source of material; it is clean with a predictable nature but may not be obtainable in sufficient quantities on a sustainable basis.

Staff Engagement

Swish believes that there is a virtuous circle which helps the company and its employees to drive waste and inefficiency out of the manufacturing system and allows the workforce to realise the benefits of that process in terms of bonuses against specific targets.

Swish therefore measures specific efficiency improvements as per the table below.ts.


2014 Actual

Target Range 2014

Actual 2015

Customer Service


96%     to     98%




1500   to  1200 PPM




 6.7%    to     5.3%


Delivery Shortages


0.92%     to     0.62%


Pick errors


0.28%    to   0.24 %


All of these measures are aimed at improving resource use by, for example reducing errors in the system that require reworking product or taking back and redelivering orders, with all the costs and squandering of resources that this involves.

Staff Training and Engagement

All staff are given regular training on the best and safest way to perform tasks in the workplace. This is done through drawing up SOP’s that are the result of Risk Assessments which are themselves drawn up in conjunction with affected employees. This encourages efficiency and safety which in turn promotes better use of resources. Swish also operates business improvement teams (BITS) drawn from staff members that look specifically at current methodologies and seek to improve the ways that tasks are done. In 2015 The following BIT projects were successfully completed:

  • Line speed improvements
  • Scrap reduction
  • Housekeeping improvements
  • Efficiency increases

During 2014 Swish successfully launched an Employee Suggestion Scheme. In 2015 a number of significant changes were made as a result of employee suggestions.

Typically the following suggestion resulted in a significant and real energy saving – To fit a timer on the waste shredder to stop it running continuously saving approximately £2,000 pa for an investment of £500 on a controller

Joint Consultative Committee

Swish runs a regular consultative committee where management and workforce representatives meet to discuss company performance and general issues concerning working conditions.

Supply Chain Engagement


Swish works with its major suppliers to try and reduce waste in the system. Leading examples of this are:

  • Kronos – Prior to 2014 deliveries were made in 5T lots. During 2014 this was increased to 10T drops and during 2015 this was increased again to 20T deliveries.
  • Reagens – FOAM PACK: A three stage programme to reduce delivery mileage was triggered by the need for greater responsiveness for the supplier. Prior to 2014 the foam pack was delivered from Germany. During 2014 this became a split 50/50 between Lohne in Germany and Derbyshire in the UK. During 2015 this material becam supplied exclusively from the UK saving significant delivery mileage.
  • Imerys & Kaneka – Both companies are now responsible for their own vendor managed silos at Swish.
  • In accordance with Swish's transport policy, Swish will establish a means of recording supplier transport mileage and CO2 emissions, and encourage suppliers to undertake continual improvements in the efficiency of their transportation arrangements.


  • In 2015 Swish opened its new, central distribution centre in Tamworth. The warehouse now deals with all stock and deliveries that were previously administered by a warehouse in Telford, which has now been closed. This has significantly increased the vehicle mileage that falls within the recording remit of this site but will reduce the overall supply mileage currently undertaken by our fleet to replenish our stockists and will increase our customer service capability.
  • Swish will take back any damaged or misshapen boards that may be returned to our stockists and recycle them in the normal way.

Installers and Contractors

  • Specification – The Swish Technical department provides detailed specifications for newbuild customers so that each plot lot is made up in the most efficient manner.
  • Training – The Technical Service Department provide installation training to ensure that contractors are aware of the installation requirements and how the installation is made up from the boards specified.
  • Product range – The Swish range features a large number of board sizes that are designed to fit most popular applications. This is done in order to reduce waste that may be generated on site by unnecessarily cutting down larger boards.


Electricity usage is monitored on a weekly basis by a series of sub-meters to understand where energy is being used on site. Efficiency plans and targets are in place to continuously improve energy performance. Swish has invested in energy efficient equipment including motors, pumps, lighting, compressors and inverters.



Water usage is monitored on a weekly basis by a series of sub-meters to understand where water is being used on site and to identify any leakages. Efficiency plans and targets are in place to continuously minimise water usage. Swish has invested in new , more efficient equipment across its manufacturing site.


Heater Fuel

Simple reduction measures are in place including employee awareness training, reducing numbers of heaters in unnecessary places, closing windows, shutting down heaters when not required, regular servicing and turning down the level of heat output overall.



All waste streams on site have been identified and are segregated and processed where possible (this includes all paper, cardboard, polythene, wood and metal). Since May 2010 any waste which cannot be processed on site has been sent to a waste management supplier, who sorts the waste to minimise landfill. All production scrap, start-up scrap, saw dust, misshapen or damaged boards are ground up and recycled back into production.


Vehicle CO2 Emissions

Vehicle fleet is Euro5 compliant and replaced the older Euro4 compliant fleet at the beginning of June 2011. Optimised vehicle servicing, load planning and vehicle routing contribute towards fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 output.