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Super-sized Ikea tub toys are cleaning up London’s river trash

Super-sized Ikea tub toys are cleaning up London’s river trash
[Photo: courtesy of Mother London]

The strength and power of a particularly adorable tub toy has been known for eons. Epic ballads have been sung in their name (thank you, Ernie). But now Ikea has taken its Smakryp tub toy and created a giant, remote-controlled robot version that will help clean up trash in the River Thames in London.

To mark the opening of the Swedish retailer’s newest London store in Greenwich, Ikea deployed two boats in the river in southeast London, dubbed The Good Ship Ikea, each equipped with technology enabling them to collect up to 44 pounds of trash at one time. Each boat is almost 10 feet long and weighs up to 150 pounds. According to Ikea, more than 300 tons of trash is cleared from the Thames every year.

[Photo: courtesy of Mother London]
It’s not the first time Ikea has used its products to raise awareness for an issue. In 2014 in Singapore, the retailer used its store showrooms to promote stray dog adoption.

The boats are running during the U.K. school break this week, the retailer has teamed with the local Creekside Education Trust to provide an educational experience for local families, and the public was invited to help control the boats remotely. The collected trash will be turned into a sculpture for the new Greenwich store.

After this week, the boats will be permanently donated to the sustainability charity Hubbub.

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