What would you say if I told you I ate a Ford vehicle for lunch?
OK, of course I didn’t actually have a Ford for lunch, but, to paraphrase that mythical figure from my youth, Euell Gibbons: “Many parts of a Ford are edible.”
Or to be more precise, I should probably just say that many of the things that now make up a Ford vehicle just happen to be edible, too. And I got to sample some of them at a lovely lunch recently.
That lunch, hosted by Ford, featured many of the foods that are used (in other forms of course) to build Ford vehicles today, and offered a tangible demonstration of their commitment to finding sustainable, non-metal, recycled and bio-based materials for use in their vehicles, thus reducing their dependence on petroleum products.
Did you know, for example, that Ford uses soybeans to create the foam seat cushions in all its vehicles produced in North America? That huge effort saves about 5 million pounds of petroleum annually, according to the company. And soybeans were just the start.
The lunch was lovely and started with an appetizer using dandelion greens, which are being studied as a possible alternative to synthetic rubber. There was also a dish with shredded coconut, and Ford is looking into using a fiber byproduct of coconuts called colr as a potential reinforcement for molded plastics.
We had several dishes at the lunch that were made with tomatoes, and Ford has partnered with Heinz to study using the leftovers from ketchup production, like stems and skins, for creating a new plastic for use in their cars.
Besides food products, Ford has pioneered use of other materials in their effort to reduce the use of petroleum products, including recycled denim, which is used as a sound deadener, plastic bottles, which are used for the seat fabric of the Focus Electric vehicles, recycled tires, which are used as gaskets under the hood of most Ford vehicles, and, in one of my favorite recycling images: Ford is experimenting with using retired US currency, i.e., shredded money, to create the plastic for trays and bins in their cars, most appropriately: the coin tray.
Sarah Auerswald is the co-Founder of MomsLA.com and is committed to highlighting sustainable practices where she sees them.