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 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 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*-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.
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.
Kia remains steadfast in its commitment to a sustainable planet and the wellbeing of future generations. This strategy encompasses the brand’s continued and growing support of The Ocean Cleanup. It will be reinforced and represented through the Kia logo and colors appearing on every set of overalls worn by the crew of System 03.
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. Initiatives such as this one perfectly align with Kia’s transition to a sustainable mobility solutions provider and our Plan S strategy, through which we embrace the needs of our customers and the protection of our environment by acting as a responsible corporate citizen.”
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.”
*BTX (Benzene, Toluene, Xylene)