Welcome to the second part of my two-part “Design that sucks” series where I examine how eco-innovation is impacting a traditionally bulky, loud, energy-sucking, and plastic household staple: the vacuum cleaner.

For the first part of the series, I looked at Dyson’s DC26 Multi Floor City Vacuum, a pint-sized powerhouse that’s apartment-friendly, energy-efficient, and an ideal tool for those living with asthma and allergies.

Today’s featured dirt n’ dust sucking machine is actually more of an initiative than a singular product: The Electrolux — a Swedish company that’s no stranger to eco-innovation and design — Vac from the Sea collection. The collection is comprised of five super cool-looking vacuum cleaners partially made from recycled plastic waste harvested (via coastal and beach cleanup efforts as well as costal reef diving) from five different bodies of water: The Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean along with the Baltic, North, and Mediterranean Seas.


An Atlantic Ocean edition featuring plastic debris collected through trawling off of the coast of the UK is under construction.

The goal of the Vac from the Sea program is to spotlight how recycled plastic can be incorporated into functional household appliances like the humble vacuum cleaner while also bringing the public’s attention to how pollution, specifically of the plastic variety, is plaguing the world’s waterways.

Although the five Vacs from the Sea won’t be mass-produced at this time, they will reportedly be put up for auction with proceeds supporting future eco-initiatives. And yes, they are fully functional and use the same core structure (chassis, engine, and bag compartment) as the Electrolux Ultra One Green, a model that is indeed available for consumer purchase.

For more info on the Vac from the Sea program and additional photos, check out Electrolux’s dedicated campaign blog. And be sure to check out the specifics — including what organizations played a part in the campaign by collecting plastic debris — of each of the existing five Vacs from the Sea here.

Which Vac from the Sea is your favorite? Personally, I'm partial to the Baltic Sea model (pictured top left). I guess that even the plastic marine debris from Scandinavian countries is prettier ...

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Design that sucks: The Electrolux Vac from the Sea collection
Electrolux creates a line of vacuum cleaners made from plastic harvested from 5 different bodies of water to bring awareness to marine pollution.