Throughout March 2011 Dyson Appliances (Aust)  is asking customers to think about what happens to the old, when they purchase new appliances, by providing a vacuum cleaner recycling initiative for local communities around The Good Guys stores.

Every year in Australia millions of electrical appliances, including an estimated 1.2 million vacuum cleaners, will end up in landfill. According to campaign supporter and well-known Australian environmental foundation Planet Ark, this is a result of many customers simply not knowing what to do with the old vacuum when it is time to replace it.

Whilst in many international markets, including the UK and Europe, it is legally required that companies take back products from customers at the end of operational life, it is not a requirement in Australia. Additionally, less than 20% of businesses offer this option to their customers.

Brad Gray, Campaigns Manager at Planet Ark explained, “It is important that manufacturers take responsibility for their products at the end of their life by putting in place collection and recycling programs. It’s not yet a legal responsibility but it is a moral one.”

The eco-trade campaign will offer local residents the opportunity to trade-in, rather than trash their old vacuum cleaner, ensuring it can be responsibly recycled.

Vacuum cleaners can be dropped off at The Good Guys store during March, and in return for will receive a discount off a new Dyson vacuum cleaner.

The biggest environmental impact of domestic appliances is ‘energy in use’. In vacuum cleaners, this accounts for approximately 90% of a machine’s impact. An individual’s impact on the world can be managed through the purchasing of products that are designed responsibly.

Responsible engineering has been a part of the Dyson design process since the company’s inception. In 1992 James Dyson did away with the bag, pioneering a trend away from this disposable dust collector that ultimately ended up in landfill.

The average energy consumption of a vacuum cleaner is approximately 1800W. Dyson engineers are currently producing high performance vacuum cleaners with lower wattage motors, and the smallest Dyson upright has a 650W motor, and equals the pick-up performance of a full sized Dyson. This is achieved through Radix Cyclone technology combined with a compact design.

However, it is still not enough to be ‘green’ alone. In order to change consumer attitudes and behaviours, a product should be able to do the job as well as or better than its competitors. Only breakthrough technology can do this.