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The lead for the story is not something you usually see in a nerdy tech blog: ”There are islands of plastic trash twice the size of Texas.”
But you know what? The nerd/geek/gadget industry couldn’t exist without plastic and other petroleum products. I don’t like to think about it any more than you do, but it is a fact that we make tons of trash in order to have our techie lives. So it kinda behooves us to pay attention to this stuff.
Electrolux is paying attention, and as they’re run by Swedes, they’re not just yammering, they’re actually doing something about it. They’re planning on making a number of their vacuum cleaners from plastic gathered from the world’s oceans in order to demonstrate the viability of sustainable manufacturing (or in this case, “sustainable vacuum cleaners”). If you want to learn more, follow their efforts, and/or get involved, check out their blog and the information below. Because we geeks all need water and plastic, right?
Full information below.
The Pacific Ocean is polluted with the largest floating garbage islands in the world. Electrolux intends to gather plastic from the world’s oceans and turn it into a number of vacuum cleaners. The initiative – “Vac from the Sea” – aims to bring attention to the issue of plastic pollution and at the same time combat the scarcity of recycled plastics needed for making sustainable home appliances.
“There are plastic islands, some several times the size of the state of Texas, floating in our oceans. Yet on land, we struggle to get hold of enough recycled plastics to meet the demand for sustainable vacuum cleaners. What the world needs now is a better plastic karma”, says Cecilia Nord, Vice President, Floor Care Environmental and Sustainability Affairs, Electrolux.
Diving, Fishing and Scavenging for Plastics
The plan is to make a limited number of vacuum cleaners from plastic debris harvested from the Pacific,- and the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Baltic and North Sea. On the blog and on Facebook, anyone interested in the issue will be able to follow the endeavor and find inspiration on how to get involved. The vacuum cleaners will be put on display to decision makers and consumers as part of spreading the word.
“The techniques for harvesting the plastic will vary depending on location – from diving after it to scooping it up from the waves. We will work together with volunteers and experts that live close or work with this problem,” says Cecilia Nord.
Into the Cycle – Out of the Ocean
Electrolux has a natural stake in getting more plastic into the cycle and out of the ocean. Being one of the world’s greatest appliance manufacturers, Electrolux has a place in the homes of hundreds of millions people.
“More recycling directly translates into more sustainable appliances and homes. Our engineers have managed to get our green range vacuum cleaners up to 70 percent recycled plastic but our ultimate vision is of course 100 percent, and for all ranges”, says Jonas Magnusson, Product Marketing Manager at Electrolux.
The main barrier to taking the next step and increase the share of recycled plastic in home appliances is the uncertain supply of recycled raw material. Much research and progress is currently being done by the recycling industry. However, to fix the imbalance in supply and demand and get the cycle working, overall consumer perception must change and barriers to recycling become lower.
“This issue is much too important to leave to politicians. Companies, consumers and politicians are equally accountable for the situation. Since our company delivers appliances to millions of homes, we have an opportunity to raise awareness and affect consumer decisions”, says Cecilia Nord.
For more information and to follow the quest:
For more on the “plastic islands” in the world’s oceans, read this article and then watch this …
and this …
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