DC02 Recyclone, Dyson, 1997

17 May 2023
In 1995 Dyson launched the Recyclone, the first vacuum cleaner to be made entirely of recycled plastics (refer image below). 


The DC02 Recyclone
Image credit: https://www.dyson.co.uk/james-dyson/invention-a-life/07

Initially the cleaners were made from waste materials of the DC01 and DC02 manufacturing process, with a brand-new motor, bin and electrical components. It was intended that a scheme would be established to collect end-of-life Dyson vacuum cleaners where the plastics parts would be separated into different polymer types, cleaned, granulated, dyed and then moulded into parts for this new model. One year’s production was hoped to recover 30 tonnes of plastics from landfill. 

MoDiP’s Recyclone on display.
Image credit: Katherine Pell

Coloured green with organic pigments to emphasise its environmental credentials, the cleaner was packaged in a reusable hessian bag with user instructions printed onto recycled paper. 

Marketing literature printed on recycled paper.
Image credit: Katherine Pell

Unfortunately, however, the concept was ahead of its time and failed to capture consumer interest. In practice, the Recyclone did not offer any extra features or performance benefits over the standard DC02 model, and it was sold at a slightly higher price. Additionally, using recycled plastics was simply not viable at that time due to the need for significant quantities of virgin material to be added to the mix to ensure durability. Only about 400 Recyclones were produced when Dyson made the decision to close this project and improve sustainability by optimising efficiencies in how the cleaner operated instead.

The Electrolux prototype made from used hair dryers, vacuum cleaners and computers.
Image credit: https://www.stenarecycling.com/news-insights/newsroom/2020/electrolux-presents-vacuum-cleaner-made-of-100-recycled-and-reused-materials/

Research into plastics recycling and the integration of recyclate into new products has steadily advanced since the introduction of the Recyclone, but it has taken a further 25 years for another manufacturer to successfully address the challenge of creating a vacuum cleaner made from 100% recycled plastics. In 2020, Electrolux announced the development of their prototype (refer image above) in partnership with Stena Recycling, a Swedish company that collects discarded electronic consumer products and breaks them down into raw materials.


A close-up look at that lovely green colour.
Image credit: Katherine Pell

MoDiP’s example was manufactured in 1997 and is unused, donated to the collection by an ex-employee of the company. It joins our original DC01, a limited edition DC01 de stijl, an original DC02 and a DC24 All Floors, all available to view in the museum on request: https://www.modip.ac.uk/collections?columbo%5B0%5D=organisation%3A7807
Katherine Pell
Collections Officer