Electrolux Vac from the Sea
Electrolux has unveiled five vacuum cleaners made with plastic waste collected from the world’s seas and oceans. This is the second phase of the global PR-driven CSR project “Vac from the Sea” launched in July when Electrolux started the collection of plastics. Throughout the summer Electrolux collaborated with other organisations to collect plastic debris from the world’s major oceans and seas, in coral reefs, coast lines, sandy beaches and rocky crevices. All the material was sorted and documented and Electrolux’s research and design studios set to work creating the five unique vacuum cleaners each representing the ocean from which the plastic originates: The Pacific, North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean and the Baltic Sea. The models are fully functional and have been built using the same core structure as the new Electrolux Ultra One Green-model.
From left to right: The North Sea Edition, The Indian Ocean Edition, The Mediterranean Sea Edition, The Pacific Ocean Edition, The Baltic Sea Edition.
The North Sea Edition was collected from a coastal cleanup in Skagerrak, Sweden, partnering with Sotenäs Municipality.
The Indian Ocean Edition was collected through coral reef diving on the Phi Phi Islands, Thailand, partnering with Blue View Divers. The debris consisted largely of fishing gear such as nets and plastic ropes. The divers had to cut the nets and plastic bags loose from the staghorn coral reef. There were also large chunks of styrofoam drifting in the waters and large amounts of household garbage, plastic bags, buckets, drink bottles and detergent containers. The collected plastic was split in a shredder into thin strips. The white and colored plastic strips were then mounted in a pattern that covers the entire top and the hub caps on the vacuum cleaner.
The Mediterranean Edition was collected through beach cleanup at St Cyr-sur-Mer, France, partnering with Surfrider Foundation. Most of the plastic from St Cyr-sur-Mer was composed of plastic objects thrown or washed out to sea from the great beaches. PET-bottles, food containers, beverage cans and beach toys. Tourism provides the Mediterranean Sea with tons of plastic on a daily basis. Most of it remains in the sea for ever because of plastics slow degradation. The plastic from Marseille was cut into heartshaped pieces and then attached to a thin shell of industrially recycled plastic. In order to form the plastic close to the vacuum cleaner the designers used hot air.
The Baltic edition used plastic collected from three different sites in Poland, Sweden and Latvia. In Sweden, special Vac from the Sea-envelopes were distributed to people in the small harbor of Sandhamn in the Stockholm archipelago. The envelopes were stuffed with bech litter and then sent to Electrolux. Partners were Islanders, Sandhamn, Sweden, The Hel Marine Station, Słupsk Elementary School, Poland, Pedas, Latvia.
The Pacific Edition was collected through beach cleanup in Hawaii, USA, partnering with B.E.A.C.H. The plastic had been bleached by the sun and corroded by salt water. Red/dark objects are often mistaken for food by birds, fish and other sea animals, posing danger not only to the sea creatures but also to the rest of the food chain, including land animals and humans. The plastic that is left in the sea and that washes up on beaches is usually blue, green or white. Some of the objects were found covered with barnacles and annelid worms. Other objects had traces of bite marks from sharks.
A design byproduct of working on such a global scale has been the discovery of distinct colourways that directly reflect the waste lifecycle that the collected plastics have been through. For example, in the Pacific Ocean the plastic has been virtually stripped of colour partly because of bleaching but more worryingly because ocean wildlife is attracted to brightly coloured plastic mistaking it for food.
The first phase of the campaign has already reached over 65 million people and tripled distribution of Electrolux’s green range. The next phase of the campaign will include a roadshow across major cities, museums and industry forums around the world. One of the Vacs from the Sea will be auctioned to raise funds for continued research in the field of plastic recycling.
A campaign blog at www.electrolux.com/vacfromthesea documents Electrolux’s quest with updates on the project, photography, testimonials, expert comment and debate bringing together scientists, city councils, the plastic industry and the volunteers who harvested the plastic from the oceans. It also offers inspiration on how to get involved and invites users to support one or more of the organisations involved in the campaign. This is supported by a far-reaching global media and blogger outreach targeting green, design, innovation, business, retail and political interest groups. A series of online videos about the quest will feature on the Electrolux site and be seeded internationally. Follow the development of Vac from the Sea campaign on Twitter @vacfromthesea and Facebook
Jonas Magnusson, business segment manager at Electrolux’s Floorcare division, said: “The beauty of this campaign is that it is impossible to classify as it involves all parts of the company, from our CEO to sales, R&D and local staff. The impact it is having on Electrolux’s green product ranges is very powerful. We are leveraging our global brand to create a sustainable dialogue not just with our customers but with people in general. This is already helping to shift opinions around the world about recycling and highlights ways in which everyone can actually get involved and do to their bit to help solve the problem of plastic waste in our oceans.”
Click on the image below to play the campaign video.
The “Vac from the Sea” concept was developed by PR agency Prime Sweden, Stockholm.
Jonas Bodin, creative director for the Electrolux account at Prime, said: “While there is a hazardous amount of plastics floating around in our oceans, on land Electrolux experiences scarcity of recycled plastics needed for making sustainable home appliances. This incongruity is at the heart of Vac from the Sea. It is not about what you make of plastic, but about where it comes from. We worked on the concept of plastic reincarnation where plastic takes different life forms over and over again, inspired by the largest concentration of ocean waste in the world – the Pacific Ocean garbage patch. It is a wake-up call and a reminder of one of the most important environmental issues today.”