New Kia EVs to use recycled plastic from 55 tons reclaimed from Pacific Ocean

Kia global partner, The Ocean Cleanup, reclaims record 55 tons of ocean plastic which will be recycled; proportion to be used in future Kia models; Kia committed to more than 20% increase in plastic reuse by 2030 and achievement of carbon neutrality by 2045

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 28 Aug 2023 Views icon7524 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Kia plans to use recycled plastic from a 55-ton haul recently reclaimed from the Pacific Ocean in its new 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 agreed in April 2022 as part of Kia’s transformation 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 plastic catch at Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada. The record catch was removed from the Pacific Ocean using The Ocean Cleanup’s System 002 extraction technology following a lengthy voyage through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). The GPGP is the world’s largest accumulation of floating waste and has an estimated surface area of 1.6 million square kilometres – equivalent to three times the size of France.

Over 30 sustainable solutions implemented

Recycling of the captured plastic will begin shortly, and Kia will use a proportion of the material in future models. This policy aligns with Kia’s commitment to provide sustainable mobility solutions that have a measurable impact on achieving sustainability at scale.

Already, Kia has successfully implemented more than 30 sustainable solutions in various product areas, including fabrics and carpets using recycled PET, bio-based alternative leather, and BTX (Benzene, Toluene, Xylene)-free paint. In the case of the EV9, the brand’s 7-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 34kg.

Upcycled waste, including fishing nets retrieved from the ocean, is used to create floor carpets in the Kia EV9 all-electric SUV flagship model. 

Immediately after bringing the record haul to shore, 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% of floating ocean plastic by 2040.

The 55 tons of ocean plastic have been delivered to Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada. The plastics will be recycled; proportion to be used in future Kia models under multi-year partnership.

Charles Ryu, Senior Vice-President and Head of the Global Brand & CX Division at Kia Corp., commented: “The record catch of plastics brought to shore by The Ocean Cleanup for recycling is tangible proof of how technology can deliver sustainable solutions at scale. Kia’s partnership with The Ocean Cleanup demonstrates the brand’s commitment to having a positive impact.”

Nisha Bakker, Director Partnerships of The Ocean Cleanup, said: “This record delivery marks the end of the System 002 era for The Ocean Cleanup, and the perfect platform as we launch System 03. We are moving forward step-by-step, and we believe that System 03 represents the size of system required to scale up and expand our cleanup in the most economical way. Beyond System 03, we plan to deploy a fleet of systems that together will be capable of removing 50 per cent of the GPGP every five years. However, we cannot do this alone. Committed and valued partners, and particularly our global partner Kia, remain essential for The Ocean Cleanup to bring our shared ambitions of plastic-free oceans to reality.”

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