Electrolux contributes to the circular economy by promoting recyclability, integrating recycled materials into its product platforms and by developing more circular business solutions.
By 2030, our goal is to replace 50% of the virgin plastic used in the manufacturing of our products. In 2021, the use of recycled plastic increased by more than 25%, from 6,800 tons in 2020 to 8,600 tons.
Trialing a 90% recyclable vacuum cleaner
Following the development of a prototype vacuum made from 100% recycled materials together with Stena Recycling in 2020, the collaboration continued in 2021 to develop a prototype that is close to being fully recyclable.
The 2-Infinity prototype vacuum cleaner is 90% recyclable compared to around 70% for a regular vacuum cleaner on the market. By being designed to be highly recyclable at its end-of-life, the 2-Infinity vacuum cleaner promotes the circular use of resources by making it as easy as possible to recover and recycle its various components and materials.
The learnings are being incorporated into the design of the next generation of vacuum cleaners, which will contain more recycled materials and will be easier to recycle. We also continued to develop sustainable design guidelines that will enable our R&D and design teams to maximize recyclability and repairability.
Meet the 2-Infinity prototype vacuum cleaner
"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," says Martin Hedström, Head of Insights & Innovation. "There is a tremendous shift in consumer expectations on brands to show progress and conviction in areas concerning sustainability, however they challenge us to do this without increasing price or diluting quality or functionality, which requires significant innovation."
Drawing on consumer insight
During the year, we gathered consumer perceptions on recycled plastics in products, which highlighted a huge consumer interest in for products containing recycled materials. We found that consumers perceive products containing recycled plastics to be more innovative, premium and sustainable.
In addition, 83% of consumers believe it is important or extremely important for companies to design products that are reused or recycled, and 72% said they’re currently buying more environmentally responsible products than they were five years ago.
In the coming years, Electrolux will introduce a family of products designed to highlight the use of recycled materials across the innovation areas of Taste, Care and Wellbeing.
Offering consumers a sustainable upgrade
Electrolux closely follows regulations in its various markets and develops solutions to meet market changes and opportunities. In 2021, a Sustainable Trade-in Program was launched in Vietnam to enable consumers to have their old washing machine collected and upcycled in return for a discount on a new Electrolux model. Vietnam has limited appliance recycling facilities and Electrolux works with a specialist partner to ensure old washing machines are properly recycled.
"Our program is unique in the Vietnam market as it is available year-round and offers consumers an immediate discount from their existing product based on four simple questions about their appliance," explains Lyndon Craig, Head of Design APAC. "It also differs from similar products in that we offer a 'green discount' on any brand of washing machine, which is a great way for us to create new consumers."
The collected appliances are either sustainably recycled by a certified recycling partner at their specialist facility, or refurbished and given a second life where it can serve a new family. The program has also been good for business in Vietnam as it has boosted Electrolux sales by around 10% in the country.
Read more in our For the Better 2030 Goal: Offer circular products and business solutions.