“Building vehicles with great fuel economy is our highest priority in reducing our environmental impact,” said Carrie Majeske, Ford’s Product Sustainability manager. “We recognize the use of sustainable materials inside our cars, utilities and trucks can also help reduce our environmental impact. These are steps that are not only better for our planet in the long run but are cost-effective as well.”
Ford has concentrated on increasing the use of non-metal recycled and bio-based materials to reduce its dependence on petroleum products. Examples include:
·The new Fusion contains the equivalent of slightly more than two pairs of average-sized American blue jeans as sound-dampening material to help eliminate unwanted road, wind and powertrain noise
·Kenaf is used in the door bolsters of Escape
·Ten pounds of scrap cotton from blue jeans, T-shirts, sweaters and other items go in to the Escape’s dashboard
·The equivalent of 25 recycled 20-ounce plastic bottles helps make the Escape’s carpet
·Focus Electric uses a wood-fiber-based material in its doors and recycled plastic bottles in its seat fabric
·Flex has wheat straw in its plastic bins
·Taurus SHO uses a micro denier suede made from 100 percent recycled yarns
These days the phones are ringing off the hook for Ford’s sustainability research team. As the business case for using sustainable materials strengthens, interest is growing in the potential of some unexpected and interesting sources, including the shredded paper money and coconut fibers. Ideas once considered pie-in-the-sky now merit serious consideration.
“We have been working with an ever-increasing list of collaborators – chemical companies, universities, suppliers and others – to maximize efforts and develop as many robust, sustainable materials as possible for the 300 pounds of plastic on an average vehicle,” said Dr. Debbie Mielewski, technical leader of Ford’s Materials Research and Innovation team.
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