Kia plans to use recycled plastic from a 55-tonne haul of ocean plastics 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.
The Ocean Cleanup, an international non-profit project with the mission of ridding the oceans of plastic, landed its plastic catch at Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada. It 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 paint free of BTX (benzene, toluene, xylene). In the case of the EV9, the brand’s seven-seat all-electric SUV flagship model, 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 materials weigh approximately 34 kg.
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 toward The Ocean Cleanup’s objective of removing 90% of floating ocean plastic by 2040.