Dearborn, Mich. Ford Motor Company continues to make its vehicles more eco-friendly through an increased use of renewable and recyclable materials, including soy and bio-based seat cushions and seatbacks on the 2010 Ford Taurus. The 2010 Ford Taurus is the eleventh Ford vehicle to feature bio-based seat cushions and seatbacks. Other vehicles include the Ford Mustang, F-150, Focus, Flex, Escape, Expedition and Econoline as well as Mercury Mariner, Lincoln MKS and Navigator.
“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, in a statement. “This is just one way that Ford is advancing the use of eco-friendly materials in the industry.”
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.
Ford said the 2 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles on the road today with bio-foam seats reduced petroleum usage by about 1.5 million pounds. The company is also using post-consumer recycled resins such as detergent bottles, tires and battery casings to make underbody systems, such as aerodynamic shields, splash shields and radiator air deflector shields.
As an example, the engine cam cover on the 3.0-liter V-6 2010 Ford Escape uses post-consumer recycled resins helping Ford divert between 25 and 30 million pounds of plastic from landfills.
In addition, a 100 percent usage of post-consumer recycled yarns can translate into a 64 percent reduction in energy consumption and a 60 percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the use of new yarns, according to Ford.
The automaker also uses repurposed nylon carpeting made into nylon resin and molded into cylinder head covers for Ford’s 3.0-liter Duratec engine. Touted as the industry’s first eco-friendly cylinder head cover, it’s used in the 2010 Ford Fusion and Escape.
Ford also claims the automotive industry’s first application of wheat straw-reinforced plastic for the third-row storage bins of the 2010 Ford Flex. The natural fiber replaces energy-inefficient glass fibers commonly used to reinforce plastic parts, said Ford.
Ford researchers are developing natural-fiber composites as a potential substitute for the glass fibers traditionally used in plastic car parts to make them stronger while reducing vehicle weight, which helps improve fuel economy and reduces emissions. They are also looking at ways to use plastics made entirely from sustainable resources such as corn, sugar beets, sweet potatoes and other vegetables.
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. This includes designing and producing vehicles that facilitate dismantling, reuse, recovery and recycling at end-of-life; reducing the use of hazardous materials and ensuring that parts do not contain mercury, hexavalent chromium, cadmium or lead, and increasing the use of recycled materials during manufacturing.