LONDON (Reuters Life!) - While images of brown streaks of drifting crude oil, beached tar balls and petroleum-stained pelicans are now conjured with any mention of ocean pollution, one firm is gathering bits of floating plastic to build vacuum cleaners.
Electrolux, the world’s second largest home appliance maker, said on Tuesday it will harvest bit of plastic from floating garbage islands in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, as well as from three European seas, and use the material to manufacture six showcase vacuum cleaners.
The Swedish firm said the vacuum cleaners will not be sold, but rather used to bring attention to the issues of plastic pollution and 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,” said Cecilia Nord, a vice president at Electrolux.
The “Vac from the Sea” initiative will gather plastic by diving for it or scooping it up from waves.
Electrolux said more plastic needs to be reused in order to keep it out of the world’s oceans, but also consumer perceptions over plastic recycling also must improve to lift uncertainties surrounding the supply of recycled materials.
“More recycling directly translates into more sustainable appliances and homes,” said Jonas Magnusson, product marketing manager at Electrolux.
The initiatives comes as the world closely watches efforts by BP Plc to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest in U.S. history. For Reuters coverage of the spill, click on link.reuters.com/hed87k To see a video about Electrolux's "Vac from the Sea" initiative, click here
Reporting by Michael Szabo; Editing by Paul Casciato