Vacs From The Sea is an 2010-2011 initiative of Electrolux to raise awareness of the huge amount of plastic waste in the oceans (the Great Pacific Garbage Patch) by deploying teams to collect some of it and turn it into a series of vacuums.
Designers produced units that contain 70 percent recycled materials found in 5 oceans. The one-off designs will be used to promote ocean clean-up efforts. Plastic debris has been gathered in many different ways. For the concept vacuum cleaner called The Baltic Sea Edition, plastic was collected from three different sites in Poland, Sweden and Latvia. In Sweden, the collection site was Sandhamn, a small island in the Stockholm archipelago.
Hans Stråberg, the President and CEO of Electrolux:
‘Our oceans are filled with plastic waste. Yet on land, there is a shortage of recycled plastic. The supply of sustainable raw material, such as recycled plastic, is crucial for making sustainable appliances, and assisting consumers in making their homes greener. I therefore hope people will join us in raising awareness about the threat plastic poses to marine habitats, and the urgent need for taking better care of the plastic that already exists.’
Maybe you’re wondering what this vac might look like—after all the plastic is melted down would it transform into some kind of muddy gray or brown? The Electrolux design team has done a preliminary concept sketch representing how these plastic might be treated, and we love it: the scavenged plastic will be pressed/melted together, kind of like those little plastic beads kids iron together into pixelated shapes, but better.
It remains to be seen what will happen when they begin working with the material, but we hope it stays multicolored.
The debris were collected by whatever means possible: diving, fishing or scavenging.
In my opinion it would be a great step in solving the huge plastic waste problem in the seas when all new vacuum cleaners would be made out of recycled plastics. Only a short term project isn’t enough to offer a real solution.