Accelerating plastics recycling in auto interiors
Specialty Fabrics Review | April 2012
Ford Motor Co. will help drive an increase in PET plastic recovery by using REPREVE® brand seat fabrics, made from a blend of recycled plastic bottles and postconsumer waste, in the 2012 Focus Electric. REPREVE, a 100-percent recycled yarn manufactured by Unifi Inc., Greensboro, N.C., will join Ford in collecting plastic bottles at events such as the North American International Auto Show that will be recycled back into REPREVE. Each Ford Focus Electric will use material from roughly 22 recycled plastic bottles in the vehicle’s interior.
“Ford is committed to delivering vehicles with leading fuel efficiency while targeting at least 25 percent clean technology in interior materials across our lineup,” says Carol Kordich, lead designer of sustainable materials for Ford. Focus Electric is the first vehicle with interior materials made of 100-percent clean technology, giving Ford a fast start on its road to sustainability. Other recycled or sustainable materials used in Ford vehicles include soy foam seat cushions and head restraints, wheat straw-filled plastic, castor oil foam in instrument panels, recycled resins for underbody systems and natural-fiber plastic for interior components. Currently, the U.S. recycles only 29 percent of plastic bottles (half the rate in Europe), so Ford’s focus on clean technology will likely boost recycling rates for plastics nationwide.