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Canadian PlasticsAutomotive Materials Recycling
Automaker Kia is incorporating recovered ocean plastic in its new electric vehicle models.
Automaker Kia plans to use recycled plastic from a 55-ton haul recovered recently from the Pacific Ocean in its new electric vehicle (EV) models. The record-breaking amount of plastic reclaimed by Kia’s global partner, The Ocean Cleanup, marks the next phase in a seven-year global partnership that was signed in April 2022 as part of Kia’s move to remake itself into a leading sustainable mobility solutions provider.
The Ocean Cleanup, the international non-profit project with the mission of ridding the oceans of plastic, landed its 55-ton plastic catch on a group of wharfs in Victoria, B.C. The plastic was gathered from the Pacific surface using The Ocean Cleanup’s System 002 extraction technology following a lengthy voyage through the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” which is said to be the world’s largest accumulation of floating waste, with an estimated surface area of 1.6 million square kilometers – equivalent to three times the size of France.
Recycling of the captured plastic will begin shortly, and Kia will use a proportion of the material in future EV models.
Kia has already successfully implemented more than 30 sustainable solutions in various product areas, including fabrics and carpets using recycled PET; bio-based alternative leather; and paint that doesn’t contain benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX), which is a mixture commonly used in the petrochemicals industry. In the case of the EV9, the automaker’s seven-seat all-electric SUV flagship model, for example, upcycled waste, including fishing nets retrieved from the ocean, is used to create the vehicle’s floor carpets. The components used in the construction of the EV9 made from recycled plastic and bio-based, eco-friendly materials weigh approximately 34 kilograms, Kia said.
Immediately after bringing the record haul to shore in Victoria, The Ocean Cleanup announced the introduction of its new System 03 technology. Almost three times larger than System 002, System 03 can capture much larger quantities of plastic at a lower cost per kilogram removed on a continuous year-round basis. It also features more sophisticated environmental monitoring and safety technology, such as a new Marine Animal Safety Hatch designed to protect marine life. This scale-up marks the next phase towards The Ocean Cleanup’s objective of removing 90 per cent of floating ocean plastic by 2040.
Founded in 2013, The Ocean Cleanup now employs a team of approximately 140. The foundation is headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and opened its first regional office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, earlier this year.