Vac from the Sea

Turning Plastic Islands into Vacuum Cleaner

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Stockholm, Sweden: 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.

“Vac from the Sea” is a project, initiated by home appliance maker Electrolux and aims at raising awareness about the immediate need for the world to take better care of plastics, and support the heroes that do. It is estimated that less than one percent of all plastic produced are recycled.

The environment is a concern and responsibility of everyone and the marine plastic pollution is an issue much too important to leave just to the politicians. Electrolux is in the homes of millions and can help raise awareness and affect many consumers.

Plastic is the main raw material when making a vacuum cleaner. From a sustainable business point of view, Electrolux rely on an increased global supply of recycled plastic.

“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 this from marine plastic debris – harvested from the Pacific and other sites where the plastic problem is immense.

Depending on the situation, the people involved – the gathering of plastics will vary – from diving among coral reefs to scooping up plastic directly from the water surface.

The vacuum cleaners that are to be produced from the material gathered will be put on display for the world, decision makers and consumers to see.

The locations where plastic will be “harvested” involve the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea and the 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:





Electrolux is a global leader in home appliances and appliances for professional use, selling more than 40 million products to customers in 150 countries every year. The company focuses on innovations that are thoughtfully designed, based on extensive consumer insight, to meet the real needs of consumers and professionals. Electrolux products include refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and cookers sold under esteemed brands such as Electrolux, AEG- Electrolux, Eureka and Frigidaire. In 2009, Electrolux had sales of SEK 109 billion and 51,000

© 2010