Farming the Seas for Vacuum Cleaners

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You’ve heard of the Pacific Trash Vortex, the floating, non-biodegradable landfill between California and Japan that swirls in a circumference at least as large as the state Texas, but did you know that there are four other trash vortexes–one for every large expanse of ocean?

We’re pitching the worst of our plastic crap into the deep blue sea, and while it’s easy for us landlubbers to ignore the wave-surfing garbage (out of sight, out of mind), the chemicals used to fabricate plastic are killing marine life and poisoning our food. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were vacuum cleaners to suck up all of the man-made flotsam bobbing on the high seas? Well, now there is. Sort of

Electrolux, an eco-savvy Swedish household-appliance company, has built a small line of vacuums made in part with plastic reclaimed from trash whirlpools. (And by small, we mean five). The company sent teams out on boats to collect plastic from each of the five vortexes, and with the day’s catch it assembled machines that make your Hoover look downright homely. With a minimal palette and repeating square shapes, the vacuum made from the Indian Ocean’s plastic (pictured left) even looks like it’s from the future.

It’s a small-scale production with big-time implications: Electrolux has shown that we can extract waste from polluted environments, recycle it, and create tasteful second-generation products.

Repurposed plastic flotsam collected from the Pacific Ocean.

Perhaps critiquing how we perceive our natural environment, the vacuum made of debris from the Pacific Ocean looks like a beach.

Made with packaging for candy and food, the Baltic Sea edition drives home how much plastic we “consume.”

Technicolor plastic littered the otherwise drab North Sea.

The Mediterranean Sea vacuum proves that we’ve literally left our footprint on oceanic ecosystems.

(Thanks, Fast Company Design.)

Images courtesy of Electrolux.

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