Using REPREVE®, Ford intends to divert 2 million plastic bottles from landfills and oceanic garbage patches by recycling them and using the plastic to manufacture vehicles, starting with the 2012 Ford Focus Electric.
Ford is collecting bottles at various events, including the North American International Auto Show and Consumer Electronics Show, and using them to make fibers that are then used to make fabrics. Each Ford Focus Electric contains 22 bottles worth of recycled fibers.
“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. “The Focus Electric highlights this commitment as Ford’s first gas-free vehicle, and the first in the automotive industry to use branded REPREVE.”
“After decades of education, the United States PET bottle recycling rate is only at 29 percent, about half the rate of Europe,” said Roger Berrier, president and COO of Unifi Inc. “We hope this recycling initiative with Ford will help raise visibility around the importance of recycling with a goal to drive recycling rates to 100 percent, diverting millions of plastic bottles from entering the waste stream and potentially back into REPREVE-branded fibers.”
The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) took place in Detroit on Jan. 9-10 and the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place in Las Vegas on Jan. 10-13.
Using REPREVE also conserves energy by reducing demand for oil. Plastic comes from oil and, therefore, recycling a plastic bottle (reuse) means that oil will not be required to manufacture that bottle.
“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. Another point they could have made is that the electricity required to power electric vehicles does not usually come from oil in the United States, but from nuclear, hydroelectric, natural gas, and coal power plants, all of which have a higher efficiency than gasoline-powered vehicles, which are 10%-15% efficient (not to be confused with the efficiency of the engine itself which is 20%-25%). Therefore, using electric vehicles reduces oil demand, and reducing oil demand decreases oil prices. This is beneficial to the economy overall, so the financial savings are not just enjoyed by the owners who eliminated their gasoline bills, but everyone that uses oil.
Based on its statements, it seems as if Ford believes that environmentally sound vehicles should be all-inclusive and not only be energy-efficient. This makes the Focus electric more appealing to environmentally concerned people especially, as well as anyone else who would like to be greener.
A little more insight into plastic waste: