Ford leads the way for recyclable materials
Ford is taking the mantra reduce, reuse, recycle to a new level, turning the equivalent of 1.2 billion plastic bottles every year into auto parts.
Recycled bottles are used to create the material for key vehicle components like the underbody shields on cars and SUVs and the wheel liners on their F-Series trucks.
The material Ford extracts from these plastics is lightweight, durable and versatile.
“The underbody shield is a large part, and for a part that big, if we use solid plastic, it would likely weigh three times as much,” said Thomas Sweder, design engineer, Ford Motor Company.
“We look for the most durable and highest performing materials to work with to make our parts, and in this case, we are also creating many environmental benefits.”
Plastic from roughly 250 bottles can be found on every Ford vehicle, in the manufacture of underbody shields, engine under shields and front and rear wheel arch liners.
Recycling strategies provide a potential opportunity for manufacturers, as governments around the world continue to grapple with the issue of plastic waste.
And Ford isn’t the only one getting in on the action.
The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class uses recycled plastics in 45 components of the S-Class, while Audi has enforced a range of remanufacturing process in the production of new vehicles, including a partnership with Umicore last year to recycle high-voltage car batteries.
These kind of initiatives show how greener thinking can be beneficial, even in industries that aren’t traditionally perceived of as being particularly environmentally-friendly.
“We do it because it makes sense technically and economically as much as it makes sense for the environment,” Sweder added.
“This material meets all of our robust specifications for durability and performance.”
Ben Squires is a freelance writer based in Sydney interested in all things travel, finance and comedy.