There may be more eco-friendly materials and components than you realize in that new Ford you have been considering. The company has increased its use of renewable and recyclable materials with examples as tangible as the soy and bio-based seat cushions and seatbacks on the 2010 Ford Taurus. The Taurus is the eleventh Ford vehicle to feature earth-friendly bio-based seat cushions and seatbacks. Ford has more vehicle models with seats that use soy and other bio-based foams than any other automaker. The current Ford Mustang, F-150, Focus, Flex, Escape, Expedition and Econoline as well as Mercury Mariner, Lincoln MKS and Navigator also use the sustainable material.
“We already have bio-based foam on more than 2 million vehicles and we’re looking to convert 100 percent of our fleet to it in the future,” said Jerry Brown, Ford Chief Engineer of Seat and Restraint Engineering. “This is just one way that Ford is advancing the use of eco-friendly materials in the industry.”
For the past several years, Ford has concentrated on increasing the use of non-metal recycled and bio-based materials, including:
In support of Ford’s global product development strategy, material engineers are developing standardized specifications for sustainable materials while working with parts purchasers and suppliers to use eco-friendly components in different markets.
For example, the European Ford Focus uses recycled polymer in such components as the battery tray, wheel arch liners, seat fabric and carpets. Materials engineers are in the process of determining if recycled polymer can be used for similar components in the global Focus coming to North America and Europe in 2011.
Did you know that Ford vehicles are now 85 percent recyclable by weight? In 2009, Ford saved approximately $4.5 million by using recycled materials, and diverted between 25 and 30 million pounds of plastic from landfills in North America alone.
Automobiles are among the most recycled consumer products in the world. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 95 percent of all end-of-life vehicles in the U.S. are processed for recycling – compared to 52 percent of all paper and 31 percent of all plastic soft drink bottles.
In Europe, automakers are required to take back the vehicles they’ve produced at the end of the vehicles’ useful lives. Ford has end-of-life recycling networks for its vehicles in 16 European markets and participates in industry collective systems in another 10. In 2007, Ford became one of the first automakers in Europe to be certified in compliance with end-of-life requirements, including:
Reuse is a big part of the recycling story. Auto recyclers supply more than one third of all ferrous scrap to the U.S. scrap processing industry. When manufacturers use scrap iron and steel instead of newly produced ore, they reduce air and water pollution by more than half during the manufacturing process.
“In theory, end-of-life vehicles are nearly 100 percent recoverable. In practice, however, the cost in energy and labor to recover all vehicle material often exceeds the value of the materials and offers insignificant value to the environment,” Viera said. “We remain focused on achieving the highest economically viable and environmentally sound recovery percentage possible.”