Kia is eager to get its hands on a record-setting trash haul.
The Ocean Cleanup, an international nonprofit that began a seven-year partnership with Kia in 2022, has harvested 55 tons of plastic from the Pacific Ocean for the automaker.
The plastic was collected during a voyage through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a debris field twice the size of Texas. It was delivered to Canada's Vancouver Island for recycling into material that Kia plans to use in electric vehicles.
"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," Charles Ryu, a Kia senior vice president, said in a statement last week. "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."
Some of the material, which includes fishing nets and other discarded plastic, will be turned into carpets for the 2024 Kia EV9, a three-row electric crossover. Each EV9 will contain about 75 pounds of recycled plastic and "bio-based, eco-friendly materials," Kia said.
The Ocean Cleanup, which has put Kia's logo on its workers' overalls, aims to remove 90 percent of floating ocean plastic by 2040.