The Swedish company Electrolux has launched Vac from the Sea, an initiative to turn plastic from the ocean into vacuum cleaners. The company is recruiting volunteers to gather the plastic from the Pacific, Indian Ocean, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea, and the North Sea. Recently, volunteers began collecting plastic in Sweden.
“Depending on what plastic we actually find, every vacuum cleaner will look unique,” Cecilia Nord, Vice President, Floor Care Environmental and Sustainability Affairs, Electrolux says. “If we’re in Sweden, the kind of garbage we’ll get is from Northern Europe. When we’re collecting plastic in Thailand it will look completely different. The vacuum cleaners will be a bit of a mosaic.”
Vac from the Sea may be little more than an awareness campaign as Treehugger.com believes, but it is one that is badly needed. Hans Straberg, President and CEO of Electrolux says:
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 you 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.
About 250 billion pounds of raw plastic pellets are produced every year globally and turned into products. Some of that plastic ends up in the world’s oceans and seas. The plastic kills marine animals that eat it or become tangled in it and drown. The majority of plastics do not biodegrade and will remain in oceans for hundreds of years.
“The sheer volume of plastic in oceans are staggering,” says Bill Macdonald, vice president of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. “In recent years Algalita researchers have sampled a huge area in the middle of the North Pacific, and found six pounds of plastic for every pound of algae.”