Ford's New Cars Cut Water Use, Recycle Bottles

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Each 2012 Ford Focus Electric contains 22 recycled plastic bottles which make up its seat fabric. Photo: Ford

Ford is stepping up its environmental efforts, recently revealing two major sustainability initiatives to recycle plastic bottles into car seats and reduce the company’s water use by 30 percent.

The automaker announced Jan. 5 that it plans to use seat fabric made from old plastic bottles for its new Ford Focus Electric and its other new vehicles for the next model year. The REPREVE fabric, made by textile company Unifi, is a polyester fiber made from a blend of recycled materials, including post-industrial fiber waste and post-consumer PET plastic bottles.

Each Ford Focus Electric will contain about 22 recycled plastic bottles that make up its seat fabric, and the automaker aims to divert about 2 million bottles in the next model year.

Ford and Unifi will even collect plastic bottles to use in Ford vehicles from this month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit and International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

READ: Ford to “Grow” Its Own Car Parts?

In addition to increasing its use of recycled-content materials, Ford is intensifying its water conservation efforts, setting a new goal to reduce the amount of water the company uses to make each vehicle by 30 percent globally by 2015.

The automaker has already dramatically cut its water usage by 62 percent, or 10.5 billion gallons, between 2000 and 2010, and wants to build on that success. Ford achieved these water savings – the equivalent of the water used by 105,000 average U.S. homes annually, according to the company – by developing technology to lubricate cutting tools without water at U.S. and European plants and to treat and reuse wastewater at plants in Mexico, India and China.

READ: Inside the New 2012 Ford Focus Electric

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