Since announcing the Vac from the sea initiative in June, Electrolux has been busy working with environmental organizations and concerned individuals to collect plastic debris from marine environments around the globe. Now the company has announced the creation of five one-off vacuum cleaner creations manufactured using waste collected from key areas, including Hawaii, the North Sea and the Mediterranean.
The main aim of the Vac from the Sea campaign is not to produce a new line of eco-friendly vacuum cleaners, but rather to highlight a serious problem faced by marine environments the world over. Electrolux points out that while there is a shortage of recycled land-based plastics required for sustainable vacuum cleaner manufacture, the oceans of the world suffer greatly from the plastic menace. However, according to the company, "At the moment, the quality and the logistics needed for cleaning and sorting ocean plastic makes it difficult to use in mass production."
Helping hands make light work
The fully working demonstration models are based on the company's UltraOne Green model and have been manufactured using collected plastic waste from five key sites around the world. The Pacific Edition is made up of drifting plastic grain that has been bleached by the sun and corroded by salt water, much of it showing signs of marine life interaction. The debris used for this model was gathered by environmental awareness group B.E.A.C.H., from the beaches of Hawaii.
The North Sea Edition also consists of plastic collected from beach areas, this time on the Bohuslän beaches in western Sweden by members of the Sotenäs Municipality. The Surfrider Foundation Europe spent some time on the beaches of St Cyr-sur-Mer bagging plastic bottles, food containers and beach toys to provide the raw material for the Mediterranean Edition.
The seabed and coral reefs joined beach collections for the source of waste off the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand. The Blue View Divers busied themselves cutting discarded fishing nets from coral, gathering floating Styrofoam chunks and dragging up buckets, drink bottles and detergent containers from the seabed. The waste was then fed into a shredder and used in the creation of the Indian Ocean Edition.
Waste was collected from three different sites in Poland, Sweden and Latvia for the Baltic Edition. Special Vac from the Sea collection envelopes were issued to people in the small harbor town of Sandhamn in the Stockholm archipelago, while the Hel Marine Station (a field station for the Institute of Oceanography at the University of Gdansk) took care of the Polish collection, and NGO Pedas organized a beach clean-up at Ragaciems, Klapkalnciems in Latvia.
The raw materials for the Atlantic Edition were trawled from the waters off the UK coast with the help of the Fishing for Litter initiative.
Electrolux is currently busy working out the fine details of a tour schedule to show off the demonstration models around the world. The company's Cecilia Nord said that "so far, over 60 million people have been reached and we are continuing the initiative following the great response."
A short video featuring the Vacs from the Sea and documentation from collecting sites has been produced: