Electrolux aims to clean up the oceans (a little bit)

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Elextrolux is attempting to bolster its green credentials by hauling a team on a global journey - to save six vacuum cleaners' worth of plastic.

Its 'Vac from the Sea' project, it says, aims to bring attention to the issue of plastic pollution, as well as to highlight the lack of recycled plastic.

"There are plastic islands, some several times the size of the state of Texas, floating in our oceans," says Cecilia Nord, Electrolux' vice president of - wait for it - floor care environmental and sustainability affairs.

"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."

The plan is to make just six vacuum cleaners from plastic debris harvested from the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Baltic and the North Sea.

To be fair to the company, it does produce one vacuum cleaner, the Ultra Silencer Green, made with 55 per cent recycled plastic. Butr this new lot won't even be sold, which would at least reduce the amount of non-recycled plastic by a tiny amount.

The techniques for harvesting the plastic will vary depending on location – from diving after it to scooping it up from the waves.

"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 Nord. "This issue is much too important to leave to politicians."

She's perhaps got a point: it's certainly hard to imagine politicians coming up with a plan to save the world quite like this.