Southern California environment news and trends

When big companies do good things: Ford Motor Co. to convert millions of plastic water bottles into car interiors

Ford Executives Highlight Former Truck Plant Converted To Build The Focus And Focus Electric

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

WAYNE- DECEMBER 14: A 2011 Ford Focus goes through the assembly line at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant following a media preview of Ford products and technology at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant December 14, 2010 in Wayne, Michigan. The plant was formerly a truck plant that was converted to build the 2012 Ford Focus and Focus Electric vehicles. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

With the automotive world currently focused on Detroit and the 2012 North American Auto Show, Big Three automaker Ford Motor Company has announced one of the most intriguing new eco-friendly car features ever.

Partnering with REPREVE, who specialize in recycled fabrics, Ford will divert around 2 million plastic water bottles from festering in a landfill to create seat fabric for the new Focus Electric vehicles. It will be the first car able to boast an interior of 100% clean technology.

Ford and REPREVE are currently collecting bottles at both the Detroit Auto Show and in Las Vegas at the Consumers Electronics Show that will be used to make the material (they estimate it will take around 22 bottles to produce each car interior).

They also use the occasion to report the sobering news that in America, only 29% of plastic bottles find their way to being recycled, which is about half the rate in Europe. Awkward!


When big companies do good things: Ford Motor Co. to reduce water usage 30% per vehicle in 3 years

Having already reduced their global water usage by 62% (or 10.5 billion gallons) between 2000 and 2010, Ford announced plans last week to continue that trend by reducing how much water is used per vehicle produced by the year 2015.

“Water remains one of our top environmental priorities," Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering said in a statement from Ford, "and our aggressive reduction target helps ensure continued focus on this critical resource.”

While Ford’s press release went on to detail exactly how they plan on making this ambitious plan a reality, we were much more taken with the nifty infographic that puts 10.5 billion gallons of water into a more relatable context. Given the water crisis prevalent in far too many parts of the world, it’s a sobering thought to think that the actions of one corporation can preserve such a tremendous amount of water.