Electrolux drew attention to the lack of recycled plastic needed to create sustainable appliances by making vacuum cleaners from the plastic found littering ocean floors.
This past summer, Electrolux collected plastic from the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans and the North and Mediterranean Seas, to create five completely functional vacuums, similar to its Ultra One Green model, crafted from 70% recycled plastics.
Each vacuum contained trash collected from their respective areas. The Pacific version contains debris from Hawaii; the North Sea edition from Skagerrak, Sweden; the Mediterranean edition from St Cyr-sur-Mer, France; the Indian Ocean edition from the Phi Phi Islands, Thailand; and the Atlantic edition from the U.K.
What a novel idea, to have a vacuum company remove debris that doesn't belong in the ocean. It's too bad only five vacuums were created; I can picture some consumers shelling out some extra money for a vacuum if the product was helping the world's oceans stay unpolluted.
The "Vac from the Sea" initiative, developed by Prime Sweden , hopes to raise awareness about ocean plastic waste and inspire both consumers and the appliance industry to increase their own recycling output.
Let's not also overlook the fact that distribution of Electrolux's green range has more than tripled since the campaign's inception.
The next element of the campaign will include a tour throughout major cities, museums and industry forums worldwide.
One of the "Vacs from the Sea" will be auctioned to raise money for research on plastic recycling.
"Vac from the Sea" is promoted through Facebook, Twitter, and an Electrolux blog and short film that documents the trash collection process. Did I mention that these vacuums made from garbage are quite beautiful? Be sure to check out the photos on the Electrolux blog.
An interesting tidbit about the trash removal was how different the colors of plastic were, depending on location. In Hawaii, for example, debris was either white or blue in color; marine life mistakes other brightly colored plastic as food. A shot of a plastic pink bottle was shown with teeth marks left from a shark.
"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," said Jonas Bodin, Creative Director Electrolux account, Prime. "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."
"Totally cleaning the oceans is much too big a project for one company to take on," said Julia Emmerich, PR Manager Europe, Electrolux PR Studio. "The solution ultimately lies in better handling of plastic and keeping material out of the water in the first place. Everyone needs to be on board -- industry, governments and, last but not least, the consumers. Vac from the Sea is intended to raise awareness on the subject and to get all of these groups to join Electrolux on our quest."
While the job might be massive for one company to handle, this campaign shows that one person (or company) can make a big difference that's positive and motivational for others.