Global car manufacturer Ford has revealed that it will soon be using plastic bottles in its European cars to help with energy absorption.
In its Sustainability Report 2013, Ford said that in Europe it “will soon launch vehicles that use upcycled post-consumer drinking bottles for energy-absorbing materials”.
It added: “Recycled materials do not mean low-quality materials. Our researchers work to ensure that post-industrial and post-consumer recycled-plastic materials have the same level of quality and same material specifications as the virgin material parts. In some cases, we are working to recycle the materials from our auto parts right back into the same use. For example, we are developing methods for recycling and cleaning post-industrial recycled fascias and bumpers.
“We are even working to ‘upcycle’ certain materials – that is, recycle it into uses with higher material and performance requirements than virgin material.
“For example, we are working on upcycling post-consumer laundry detergent containers and milk bottles into blow-moulded automotive components. In addition, we are developing a method to recycle polyurethane foam scrap to make new polyurethane components instead of landfilling it at the end of its life.”
The report also noted that currently most recycled material is used in the metals in its cars worldwide, but the company is trying to increase the amount of recycled content it uses.
In order to do this, Ford is looking to integrate recycled and renewable materials into its official strategies that govern materials and commodities purchasing.
The report said: “We are developing global materials specifications that include recycled materials as a preferred material option, including those for battery trays, battery shields and wheel-arch liners.
“In addition, we developed a comprehensive resin strategy that requires the use of recycled plastics for underbody and aerodynamic shields, finder liners, splash shields, stone-pecking cuffs and radiator air-deflector shields manufactured in North America.”
Ford estimates that in North America alone, it makes savings of $10 million per year by using recycled materials over virgin.
View the report in full at http://corporate.ford.com/doc/sr13-environment.pdf