Color made from recycled plastic: The story behind our new stick vac

Hye-Yeon Kim, Floor Care Senior Category Manager, and Pedro Martinez Ramos, Wellbeing Color, Material and Finish Design Lead, worked on the launch of our paint-free stick vacuum cleaner range which comes in six colors. They explain how the entire color range was developed using recycled plastic formulations. 

What’s new with our stick vacuum cleaner? 

Pedro: What’s innovative with our product is that we do not use paint for the product's color, which avoids using substances that can potentially harm people and the environment, while also reducing CO2 by not having to manufacture paints in the first place. Our supplier developed recycled plastic formulations to create the different colors based on our color palette design requirements. A matte finish was developed that looks great and is perceived as premium by consumers. 

This is the first time that we have made an entire color range — of six different colors — from different recycled plastic formulations and using no paint. Usually, recycled plastic products only come in black. 

Hye-Yeon: Our previous range also used 100% virgin plastic and included one “Green” product with recycled black plastic. This range uses between 43% and 49% recycled material by weight depending on color and nozzles. 

Were there any challenges? 

Pedro: It was a challenge to switch to recycled plastics as they behave differently to virgin plastics. Over a three-year period, we experimented with different formulations and thoroughly tested them, including demanding drop tests to ensure recycled plastics did not compromise the durability of the product. 

Hye-Yeon: Collaboration between the design team and procurement was important to find a suitable supplier. We then worked closely with our new supplier to develop the right materials with recycled plastics. 

How does the stick vacuum cleaner improve the consumer experience? 

Hye-Yeon: The suction power was increased by 20% with a new bristle nozzle to be better at picking up dust and the vacuum has a sealed filtration system to remove up to 99.9% of particles between 0.3 µm-10 µm from the home environment. The vacuum was also designed with a unique hand unit design that acts as a sound muffler for noise reduction. By promoting better air quality and less noise, the vacuum cleaner contributes to improved wellbeing in the home. 

Pedro: We incorporated calmer colors, and the overall design was refined to blend more into the home interior. Additionally, the battery run time in handheld mode was improved to up to 55 minutes on a single charge. 

What’s next in the pipeline?  

Hye-Yeon: We are launching an entirely new stick vacuum cleaner this year that will use over 50% recycled plastic. As we have designed the manufacturing process of the product specifically for recycled plastics, we have been able to incorporate even higher recycled content. 

Where has the stick vacuum cleaner been launched to date? 

Hye-Yeon: The product goes by various commercial names. It was launched as the Electrolux UltimateHome 700 in APAC & MEA in 2022. In Europe, we launched it under different names under the Electrolux and AEG brands, such as Clean 600, Animal 600, Hygienic 600 and Hygienic 6000 between December 2022 and Q1 2023. It will come to Latin America too later in 2023. 

Is the product packaging also made more sustainable? 

Pedro: Yes! Earlier this year we also launched new recycled and paper-based packaging with 70% less ink.