Usually known for its heavy-duty trucks and variety of passenger vehicles, Ford Motor Company is setting a new standard for green auto manufacturing and recycling.
With the release of its 16th Annual Sustainability Report, Ford announced that all of its manufacturing plants in Mexico were now landfill-free and they are close to achieving their goal of reducing their environmental footprint by 2016. Ford has 27 plants worldwide, in North America, South America, Europe, Mexico, and Asia Pacific; all are now landfill-free facilities.
Ford’s Landfill Contribution
Ford has reduced its landfill contribution by 40 percent from 2007 to 2011, and projects yet another 40 percent from 2011 to 2016. By the year 2025, Ford’s goal is a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions for each vehicle. Emissions were reduced by 2.4 percent from 2013 to 2014 and Ford is optimistic about attaining its long-term goal of reducing emissions by 30 percent.
The most recent transition was the Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant, which was the final plant to achieve the status of zero-waste-to-landfill. This means that close to 2 million pounds of material that previously would have gone to a landfill are now being recycled by various methods.
Approximately 45 tons of cafeteria waste is now composted and then diverted to either to improve the green areas around the manufacturing facilities, or to local farmers to use for their farming endeavors. Scrap metal and leftover solvents are also recycled.
Ford has reduced by 25 percent the amount of energy expenditure per vehicle produced. This is an excellent return on their $300 million-plus upgrades to their facilities worldwide in order to increase the energy efficiency of their facilities.
Perhaps one of the most innovative uses of recycled plastic appears in the form of Repreve, which is a fiber made of plastic bottles; Ford is using this fabric in their 2015 F-150 truck. Already in use in four other vehicles, including the Focus Electric, Repreve joins the 37 other types of recycled fabric and carpet that Ford uses in their efforts to make their vehicles 100 percent clean.
Ford’s commitment to lessening their environmental footprint is spurred by some mega trends such as congestion and urbanization. The current 28 mega-cities are projected to increase to 41 mega-cities by 2030. Mega-cities are defined as metropolitan areas that have more than 10 million residents. Modern infrastructures will be unable to accommodate the increased number of vehicles that will be required.
These mega-cities will be inhabited primarily be a middle class that is twice the size it is today. Since the middle class is the largest user of personal vehicles, this will exacerbate problems that already exist. Conservative estimates are that by the year 2030, the middle class will have increased to 4 billion people, double the size of today’s middle class.
Recognizing that the increased number of inhabitants will tax our already-strained supply of natural resources, manufacturers are seeking new ways to increase their efficiency and reduce their environmental impact, while still delivering the products for which they have become known.