Monday, May 7, 2012

Ford's latest recycling idea: Outfit new cars with old cash

Ford is researching ways to go green (and save some too) by turning old greenbacks into trays and bins in upcoming models.

Yes, it sounds crazy, but here's the story.

Some eight to ten thousand pounds of worn-out paper currency is said to be shredded every day in the U.S. alone. Then it's compressed into bricks and either buried or burned.

Rather than waste it, Ford is experimenting with a way to re-use retired dollar bills in the manufacture of trays and bins, in the same way wheat straw is currently used in the Ford Flex. 

Or like the soybeans the company processes and plows back into cushions in all its North American vehicles. The latter saves some five million pounds of petroleum every year.

That's just the start of Ford's recycling innovations.

Paul Ridden writes in gizmag that:
  • the 2013 Ford Fusion is said to contain the equivalent of a little more than two pairs of blue jean denim used for sound dampening material 
  • the new Escape features door bolsters made from kenaf (a tropical plant in the cotton family) which saves 300,000 pounds of oil-based resin annually
  • wood fiber is being used in the doors of Ford's new Focus Electric, and
  • plastic bottles are finding their way into seat fabric and carpeting, and cotton from t-shirts, sweaters and denim is being re-used in the manufacture of dashboards. 

To be sure, this isn't all earth-friendly altruism on the automaker's part.

Ford's research into green alternatives to petroleum-based automotive components began in the early part of this century, Ridden notes, when a barrel of oil was priced at $16.65. It reached a staggering per-barrel price of  $109.77 earlier this year.

Think of how much money can be saved on each vehicle that uses old t-shirts (or old money) instead of petroleum for its padding and parts.  

But who cares? The recycling efforts are truly impressive. We hope they save Ford a bundle.

Do things like this matter to you when you shop for a new car? Are you aware of similar recycling efforts by other automakers?  Share your thoughts in the opinion box below. If one is not visible, activate it by clicking on the tiny 'comments' line     

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