Cardboard Vax – The Greenest Vacuum on the Planet (What’s Next?)

Vax EVIf you think that using cardboard to build a gadget is crazy think again, over the years a number of really creative inventors have done it – from cardboard bikes, boom boxes, computers, portable scanners, clocks, cameras, speakers, laptop cases and stands to name a few.

In 2011 Vax unveiled the world’s first vacuum made from cardboard they called the Vax EV, it received acclaim being nominated as a finalist in the 2012 Design Excellence Awards as well as the Birmingham Made Me design and innovation award. However, there was also scepticism on how this product would cope with every day wear and tear.

To give you a brief background, Jake Tyler then a student at Loughborough University and an intern at Vax, designed a vacuum made primarily from recycled corrugated cardboard commonly used in packaging, the aim was creating a sustainable and green product that will drastically reduce plastic waste that’s a big threat to our oceans. Vax was so impressed with his idea that they hired him as a full time employee to see the project through.

I discovered the Vax Ev while doing research for an infographic about the history of vacuum cleaners and was really amazed at the creativity that was needed to pull this off.

It’s been two years since this product was introduced and I was curious how the project was coming along, so I contacted Jo Sawyer of Vax and ask her a few questions on the developments and what the future holds.

QuoteIt has been two years since this product has been invented, how many people have tested this and what’s the feedback?

Vax has had lots of very positive feedback about the cardboard vacuum. People are normally surprised when it operates just like a conventional premium Vax vacuum cleaner, only one made of cardboard.

If all goes well, in terms of consumer testing, when will we see the first commercially available cardboard vacuum?

Vax is still evaluating the cardboard vacuum, but many of the learnings from this project will see the light of day in future Vax products.

It was mentioned in a lot of online articles that because this used recycled materials that’ll essentially cut down on production cost, would you mind telling us much would it cost? If there aren’t exact numbers, maybe you can give a ballpark figure 🙂

Unfortunately this information is confidential, but the cardboard vacuum still contains the same premium motors, cables and accessories as a conventional Vax vacuum cleaner and therefore is not especially cheap to make, just kinder to the environment.

In some online articles, some have questioned the quality and robustness of this product saying it may last only a few weeks, what is your reaction to this? and how will you address these potential issues?

There are many different types of cardboard, some of which are very robust and this is part of Vax’s ongoing evaluation. However, part of the charm of using cardboard is that your vacuum cleaner will wear in and develop its own unique character over time.

For me personally, my biggest concern is the availability of spare parts, particularly the outer cardboard shell, will this be available online or only through local service centers?

We are still investigating the best way to make this available, but alongside offering a complete shell through the normal channels, one option is that Vax would publish the pattern for the cardboard shell online. This would allow DIY-biased owners to make their own new shell out of otherwise discarded boxes they have at home.

How much suction power does this have? Would it be at par with Vax’s canister or upright vacuums?

Vax would only launch a product that matched our customers’ expectations. There is nothing about the way we have constructed the Vax cardboard vacuum that would mean it performed less well than any other Vax.

If you’re interested in testing this and see for yourself if it truly is a worthwhile product, head over to their website and let them know that you’re interested in testing a prototype.

Before writhing this product off, remember that it takes time to perfect something and smooth out the rough edges, heck it took James Dyson over 5 years and 5000 prototypes to perfect the bagless technology that at that time was thought impossible to accomplish.

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