At the annual Circular Initiative event this year on 2 July, Stena Recycling and Electrolux presented what was heralded as a ‘new industry milestone’: a prototype vacuum cleaner called 2-Infinity that the companies claim is 90% recyclable. By contrast, conventional vacuum cleaners are only around 75% recyclable. The prototype features a design that makes disassembly at the end of life simply to facilitate recycling and promote a circular use of materials.
The vacuum cleaner was developed within the scope of a partnership with Stena Recycling, which the company has entered into to learn how to design products in a more circular way.
The 2-Infinity is the second prototype developed within the partnership with Stena Recycling. The first, unveiled in October 2020, was made from 100% recycled materials and reused components.
“The development of 2-Infinity has given us opportunities to exchange knowledge with expert partners and gain insight into how we can create and produce even more sustainable products globally,” said Martin Hedström, Head of Insights & Innovation at Electrolux.
The next stage of the project will evaluate the potential of a small pre-series of up to 300 recyclable vacuum cleaners based on the concept prototype. The aim will be to close the loop by using only recycled post-consumer plastics deriving from the Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) stream, the stream most Electrolux appliances end up in at the end of life.
“There is a tremendous shift in consumer expectations on companies to show progress and conviction in areas concerning sustainability, which requires significant innovation,” Martin Hedström noted.
“We started this collaboration with Electrolux because we believe that together we can move further in creating circular flows of products, components and materials. Recyclable products made from recycled materials are an absolute necessity in the circular economy,” added Mattias Nilsson, Head of Sales and Marketing, Stena Recycling, Sweden.
The annual Circular Initiative event was launched and is led by Stena Recycling in close collaboration with founding partners Investor, Electrolux, Stora Enso, ABB, and Combitech. The event offers a collaborative forum to pioneering leaders from industry, tech, business, academia, and politics to share possibilities and challenges, aiming at creating more circular material flows and sustainable products. It is open to delegates by invitation only.