How Many Recycled Plastic Bottles Does it Take to Make Carpet for a Vehicle?

While you still have a few weeks to wait to see the new Ford Escape, we thought you might find this bit of trivia interesting: The next Ford Escape uses 25 recycled 20-ounce plastic bottles in the carpeting of each vehicle. It’s also the first time Ford has used this type of carpeting in an SUV.

“It’s a good use of recycled product and keeps it out of landfills,” said Laura Sinclair, a materials engineer for Ford and mother of two young boys.

All materials – green or not – have to pass extensive durability tests. Sinclair and her team look for “chalking” during these tests – the fibers degrade and mash themselves in to form a white residue as they break apart. Chalking, or dusting, is the precursor to a hole forming in the carpet.

“The discoloration is one of the first signs of wear, and of course something the customer will see right away,” Sinclair said.

The testing is done on a device called a Taber 5150, which looks similar to a record player. A carpet sample about the size of a DVD is placed in the middle and spins while two weights rub the sample to simulate accelerated wear.

“We run the tests almost daily and can simulate five or more years of service in 10 to 15 minutes,” Sinclair said.

Part of the recipe to improve the carpet involves adding more plastic bottles to the mix.

“The polyester fibers created from pop bottles make up a nonwoven carpet material,” Sinclair said. “So think of it like when you make spaghetti – everything is intermixed. If you have more fibers running on each other – rather than what’s underneath, which can be more abrasive – that helps reduce wear.”

So adding more recycled bottles can help the carpet not wear as quickly, as well as help avoid the Fred Flintstone effect of your feet going through the bottom of your vehicle.

Also helping to mitigate wear is that the carpeting for the new Escape will be backed with cast foam. Cast foam helps reduce road noise and also fills in ridges and crevices for a smoother backing.

This attention to detail is something Sinclair enjoys.

“I like being a materials engineer because it is hands-on and what we do has a great impact on our customers’ perception of quality,” Sinclair said.

The all-new Ford Escape, complete with carpets made from recycled bottles, will make its global debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 16, 2011.

Related Tags
environmentally friendly
recyclable materials

Drew Immerman Hahahahaha Joe, that was great.
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Joe Ridenour hey jason, why do you bother checking on ford's fb page because obviously you don't like ford's...go buy a toyota, hang your throttle open and hit a wall.
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Jason Cardillo I'm with Brian. Start standing behind your "bad choices"
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Brian Townsend Nobody cares! It won't have any if your gonna persuade me to buy a car!
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Heather Schultz It's awesome to see recycling brought into perspective like this. Just one more reason to love Ford! :)
2 year(s) ago via
Ken Barlo 4- but the bottles have to want to change
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Ernie Hubbard 2500 bottles
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
Irene Dodds Buckovecz That's so great! xD
2 year(s) ago via Facebook
This discussion is missing your voice.

Your comment has been received and will be reviewed.
Thought of something else? Add another comment.
Comments are moderated in accordance with the
Ford Story Rules of Conduct.
Share the Love.
Choose the badge that speaks to you and take the first step into the amazing world of Ford Social.
Learn More >
Check out the family of badges on your dashboard.
View your Dashboard
2013 Ford Escape
Ford 2010 Earth Day
Seattle - Port Townsend
Brett, Ross, Tiffany, and Chekesha of Escape Routes
One M
One More Reason: Jonathan Escape
One Mor
One More
Promo Promo Promo
Register Now