For(d) the Planet

By Elizabeth Sargeant

Ford’s eco-footprint has shrunk as their use of recycled water bottles in their vehicle grows. The company has been using recycled plastic in their trucks, SUVs and cars since 1990, and is now using up to 300 recycled plastic bottles to assist in the production of just one vehicle.

This equals out to approximately 1.2 billion water bottles ethically recycled a year.

“We do it because it makes sense technically and economically as much as it makes sense for the environment,” stated Thomas Sweder, a Ford Motors design engineer earlier this year.

“This material is very well suited for the parts we’re making with it, and is extremely functional.”

According to Ford, the recycled bottles are shredded into small pieces and sold to suppliers to turn into fibres. These fibres are eventually melted into sheets of plastic for the underbody of their vehicles.

Ford has reported that the light-weight nature of the plastic improves aerodynamics in vehicles, which results in fuel efficiency, another environmental issue that pengs Ford’s interest and concern.

“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 Sweder.

Ford announced in February this year that they would partner with locally-sourced renewable energy sources to power their plants in efforts to lessen their carbon footprint even more and improve their own fuel efficiency.

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