From 15 to 21 November 2011, the Two Oceans Aquarium will present Vacs from the Sea. Local artist and originator of Plastikos Simon Max Bannister partnered with Electrolux on its Vacs from the Sea maritime conservation initiative and created an artwork using an eco-friendly vacuum cleaner as his canvas and incorporating recycled plastic gathered from beach clean-ups that took place at Muizenberg and Hout Bay in September 2011.
Bannister’s overarching artistic objective was to create a beautiful yet meaningful artwork that reflects our symbiotic relationship with the ocean and the pressing need to maintain and safeguard oceans from pollution. The vacuum-cleaner artwork represents Cape Point’s unique positioning as the meeting place of the warm currents of the Indian Ocean and the cold currents of the Atlantic Ocean.
His artwork will be displayed with three international vacs: the Pacific Edition, the Atlantic Edition and the World Oceans Edition. Each vacuum cleaner represents the ocean from which the plastic originates. The vacuum cleaners embody the plastic paradox: oceans are full of plastic waste, yet on land there is a shortage of recycled plastic for producing sustainable vacuum cleaners.
The Pacific Edition concept vacuum cleaner is made up of drifting plastic grains collected during a beach clean-up in Hawaii. The plastic has been bleached by the sun and corroded by salt water. These plastic grains are dangerous because they are easily swallowed by fish and can continue through the food chain to both animals and humans.
Made from a collection of commercial fishing materials either lost or discarded at sea, the Atlantic model contains a mixture of plastic crates, ropes and packing material typically used by fishing vessels. The collection of these items was done by trawling for litter off the United Kingdom in a similar manner to commercial fishing trawlers.
The World Oceans edition is perhaps the most unique and ambitious: made from a collection of nylon-based fishing nets, ropes and materials, this edition uses discarded fishing items from oceans around the globe. The ropes were collected from a combination of beach clean-ups and dives to remove nets from underwater habitats (coral reefs), all of which were done with the assistances of various organisations active in marine conservation.
The Vac from the Sea project was created by Electrolux to raise awareness of plastic pollution in our oceans and to meet the need for good-quality recycled plastic required for the production of sustainable home appliances.
Electrolux South Africa General Manager Stuart Spencer says the Vac from the Sea project was run internationally in 2010 to great acclaim.
“Plastic waste from the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, as well as the Mediterranean, Baltic and North seas, was collected and used to design five stunning eco-friendly vacuum cleaners,” he says. “We are very excited to launch this exciting initiative in South Africa, especially since Cape Town enjoys the benefit of two of the world’s largest oceans.”
He adds: “There are enormous islands of floating plastic in our oceans, but on land we face a scarcity of recyclable plastic. As one of the world’s largest appliance manufacturers we need to close this gap in order for us to develop more sustainable appliances.
“Each vac from the sea is purely a demo model that illustrates our commitment to finding sustainable business solutions to our current environmental challenges, particularly as they relate to plastic pollution in our oceans.”
Visitors to the Aquarium will have the opportunity to enter a lucky draw competition in which three green Electrolux vacuum cleaners are up for grabs.
Check out the video below introducing the five international vacs from the sea: