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IKEA's super-sized bath toys collect trash on the water

The Good Ship IKEA can help keep rivers clean.
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IKEA's latest effort to improve its environmental footprint has taken a decidedly aquatic bent. The company has designed a remote-controlled boat, the Good Ship IKEA, that clears trash from the water. It may look cutesy (it's modeled after the SMÅKRYP bath toy), but it's very much functional. They use environmental cleanup boat technology that can collect up to 44lbs of debris at a time -- a small fleet could keep a river relatively pristine. Like some aerial drones, the remote control provides a first-person view thanks to a camera.

The two boats in existence are serving at Deptford Creek in southeast London through February 19th, and IKEA is giving people a chance to steer the boats as part of an educational initiative. Once that activity is over, the store chain plans to donate the boats to the sustainability charity Hubbub.

This is clearly something of a publicity grab for IKEA, but it does highlight the ongoing problem with water-borne trash. Crews clear about 295 imperial tons of waste from the river Thames every year, IKEA noted. Robotic vessels could automate more of this work and clean areas that might sometimes go neglected.

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