Is Ford Really Recycling McDonald’s Coffee Discards Into Auto Parts?

Industry |

Ford has stepped up to the plate doing its part to address climate change by recycling old coffee discards from McDonald’s for auto parts. The manufacturer will take food waste from the fast-food chain then divert it from landfill to its labs where it can be engineered into bioplastics. 


Ford announced in addition to reducing food discards, the effort will make auto parts much lighter, using far less fuel, and lowering CO2 emissions.

The car industry has been under a lot of pressure from demands to reduce tailpipe emissions and increase the production of electric vehicles. It is reported that over a quarter of all carbon emissions are from transportation. 

Ford is one of the four global automakers that have opposed the Trump administration by making a deal with California to increased the fuel economy by reducing emissions from the new vehicle fleets all the way to 2026.

Dried skin on coffee beans falls off during the roasting process. These dried skins can be turned into auto parts with relatively little effort. Ford hopes that it will boost its genuine environmental concerns.

This is what Ford has to say about the process:

Each year, millions of pounds of coffee waste, including dried skin from coffee beans, are turned into garden mulch or charcoal in North America. Together, Ford and McDonald’s will offer innovative new homes for a significant amount of that material. 

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Both companies discovered that waste can be converted into a durable material to reinforce various vehicle parts. Heating the waste to a high temperature under low oxygen and then mixing with plastic and other additives will turn it into pellets. 

The material can then be shaped into various forms to meet the needs of the manufacturer.

The waste composite meets quality specifications for parts like headlamp housings and other interior parts as well as under the hood components. The final components will be approximately 20% lighter, requiring 25% less energy during the molding process. 

Heat properties of the waste component are significantly better than the used materials presently being offered, according to Ford.

Ford has set its goals for only using recycled and renewable plastics in its global vehicle fleet. With new technology for recycling old materials, the future for many new products could be on the horizon for consumers in many different products.