Appliance maker Electrolux AB says it wants to make vacuum cleaners from plastic waste harvested from the world's oceans. The project, called "Vac from the sea," would solve two problems, according to the company's video (see below). First, it would help clean up the garbage patches. Second, it would boost the supply of recycled plastics that durable goods makers could use. "The supply of sustainable raw material, such as recycled plastic, is crucial for making sustainable appliances, and assisting consumers in making their homes greener," Hans StrÃ¥berg president and CEO of Electrolux, says on a web page explaining the project. "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." Electrolux isn't new to using recycled plastic. In the past few months, we've had a couple of stories about their Ergospace Green project, a canister vacuum made using 55 percent recycled plastic. In that case, the material was supplied by MBA Polymers Inc. of Richmond, Calif.,, which uses automotive shredder residue as the raw material. So while Electrolux's "vac from the sea" project sounds a little wacky -- how can a company mold a product from a feedstock that's so contaminated? -- this is a company that has a track record for using hard-to-recycle materials. I expect they'll find a way -- and the right partners -- to make this work.
Electrolux wants to make vacuums from marine debris
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