Ford to recycle 2 million plastic bottles back into the new 2012 Focus Electric and other vehicles

February 7, 2012

Ford  plans to  divert about 2 million used plastic bottles for use in the new Focus Electric and other vehicles for the next model year. This they will do through the use of REPREVE, a recycled polyester fibre developed by Unifi Inc.

Each  Focus Electric  will contain REPREVE-based fabrics made from about 22 recycled PET bottles. According to Ford this makes it their first vehicle to have 100 % “clean technology” interior.

The REPREVE seat fabric is a polyester fibre made from a hybrid blend of recycled materials, including post-industrial fibre waste and consumer waste such as plastic water bottles made of PET.

Besides capitalizing on recycling, advantages of using REPREVE also include reduced  energy consumption by offsetting the need to use newly refined crude oil for production.

“Despite decades of education, the United States PET bottle recycling rate is still only at 29%, about half the rate of Europe”, says Roger Berrier, president and CEO 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%, diverting millions of plastic bottles from entering the waste stream and potentially back into REPREVE-branded fibres.”

“Ford is committed to delivering vehicles with leading fuel efficiency while targeting at least 25 percent cleean technology in interior materials across the 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.”

According to Ford, their vehicles are currently approximately 90% recyclable at end of life. By using recycled content in its vehicles and ensuring that its parts are recyclable, Ford says it is leading the industry in recycling efforts and states that its  goal is to have its vehicles 100% recyclable.

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