Ford has found a clever way of reusing millions of plastic bottles. Each EcoSport SUV that the company produces is fitted with carpets made using 470 single-use plastic drink bottles.
And since Ford launched the EcoSport globally in 2012, it has provided a new lease of life for more than 650 million 500-millilitre bottles, weighing an estimated 8,262 metric tons * and that – if laid end to end – would stretch more than twice around the world. **
Since first using recycled plastic in Mondeo more than 20 years ago, Ford now recycles 1.2 billion bottles globally per year.
“Consumers have a hugely increased awareness of the harm that simply discarding plastic can do – but we have long been on a mission to increase the proportion of recycled and renewable materials that are used in every new car we make,” said Tony Weatherhead, materials engineer, Ford Motor Company.
Turning plastic into car carpets first involves shredding both the bottles and their caps into tiny flakes. These are then heated to 260°C and melted down before being formed in to fibres the width of a single human hair. Those fibres are spun into a yarn by twisting multiple fibres together – and it is this material that is woven into carpets. In Europe as a whole, only 30 per cent of plastic waste is recycled. ***
Both the Ford EcoSport and Ford EcoBoost engines are built at Ford’s assembly plant in Craiova, Romania.
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* The weight of plastic bottles has been reducing. This calculation assumes a weight of 12.7 g per bottle and 1,384,274 EcoSport sales globally.
** One 500-ml plastic bottle is 20.32 cm in height. 415,282,200 x 20.32 = 84,385 km. The circumference of the world is 40,075 km.