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|Unifi and Ford launch recycling campaign|
Ford plans to divert about two million post-consumer plastic bottles for use in the new Focus Electric and other new vehicles in 2012.
The Focus Electric’s interior is made from 100% clean materials, including Unifi’s recycled Repreve PET for the seating fabrics, soy foam seat cushions and head restraints, wheat straw-filled components, castor oil foam in instrument panels, recycled resins for underbody systems and natural-fibre nonwoven-based composites for interior components.
“Ford is committed to delivering vehicles with leading fuel efficiency while targeting at least 25 per cent clean technology in interior materials across our range,” says Carol Kordich, lead designer of sustainable materials for Ford. “The Focus Electric highlights this commitment as Ford’s first petrol-free vehicle, and the first in the automotive industry to use branded Repreve.”
A recycling campaign is now under way at major trade shows such as this week’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) taking place this week in Detroit and the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas from January 10-13.
“After decades of education, the United States PET bottle recycling rate is only at 29 pe rcent – about half the rate of Europe,” said Roger Berrier, president and COO of Unifi. “We hope this recycling initiative with Ford will help raise awareness the importance of recycling, with a goal to drive recycling rates to 100 per cent, diverting millions of plastic bottles from entering the waste stream and potentially back into Repreve-branded fibres.”
The Repreve seat fabric is made from a hybrid blend of recycled materials, including post-industrial fibre waste and post-consumer waste such as the plastic water bottles made of PET.
“We aimed to make the Focus Electric the most overall sustainable vehicle available to consumers, from using clean technology to overall vehicle efficiency,” said Kordich.
The Focus Electric, Ford’s first all-electric passenger car, started production in December 2011 at its Michigan assembly plant.
Currently Ford vehicles are approximately 90 per cent recyclable at end of life. By using recycled content in its vehicles and ensuring its parts are recyclable, Ford is leading the industry in recycling efforts. Ford’s goal is to have its vehicles be 100 percent recyclable.
In 2009, Ford mandated that fabric suppliers use a minimum of 25 percent recycled content for all 2009 and beyond model year vehicles. Since then, 37 different fabrics meeting the requirements have been developed and incorporated into Ford vehicles.
In a separate initiative, the car maker has announced that it will cut the amount of water used to make each of vehicles by 30 per cent globally by 2015, compared with the amount of water used per vehicle in 2009.
Ford is also developing year-over-year efficiency targets as part of its annual environmental business planning process and has established a cross-functional team spanning several divisions to review water usage more holistically.
“Water remains one of our top environmental priorities and our aggressive reduction target helps ensure continued focus on this critical resource,” said Sue Cischke, group vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering.
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