Jumping-in to combat climate change, Ford has announced that they are teaming up with McDonalds USA to use coffee waste to make parts for their cars: specifically their headlights.
I know what you’re thinking: cars made out of coffee? What!?
Here’s how it works:
The famous automaker will be taking recycled coffee chaff waste from the fast-food giant. Chaff is the dried skin/husk that is removed from the coffee bean after the roasting process. These are always a bit of a nuisance and mostly discarded afterwards, which makes it the waste of roasting coffee beans.
But as the saying goes, one man’s waste is another man’s treasure and Ford is planning to use a chaff composite for interior car components, and under the hood; because when heated and mixed with plastic and other additives, coffee chaff can be formed into pellets and various other shapes. According to Ford, they will be diverting it from a landfill to its laboratory, where it will be engineered into bioplastics.
According to Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader, “McDonald’s commitment to innovation was impressive to us and matched our own forward-thinking vision and action for sustainability.” The first car part to be produced using the chaff will be headlamps. With each headlight installation needing chaffs from about 300,000 beans, McDonald’s USA plans to divert a “significant portion” of its North American coffee chaff to Ford. “Like McDonald’s, Ford is committed to minimizing waste and we’re always looking for innovative ways to further that goal,” said Ian Olson, senior director, global sustainability, McDonald’s. “By finding a way to use coffee chaff as a resource, we are elevating how companies together can increase participation in the closed-loop economy.”
As a result of this partnership, manufacturing the car parts will be 20% lighter, which is better for fuel efficiency and will require 25% less energy during the moulding process than with traditional plastic. In addition to reducing food waste, the effort will use less petroleum and lower CO2 emissions.