Ford Bronco Sport to Use Recycled Plastics
Electric vehicles (EVs) are a widely accepted step forward in the battle against climate change. Automakers near and far are working night and day to develop new EVs with exciting tech and powerful motors. The electric revolution is a move that will make a difference, but it’s not the only thing the auto industry can do to help. Today, Ford announced that the Bronco Sport SUV is the first-ever model to feature parts made entirely from recycled ocean plastics.
Ford says that it makes the Bronco Sport’s wiring harness clips from plastics recovered from oceans and notes that the strength and durability of the recycled components are equal to petroleum-based parts. The vehicle’s passengers never see the clips, which check in at around five grams apiece. They are used to hold the wires that provide power for the Bronco Sport’s side-curtain airbags. Ford says the recycled parts yield a 10-percent cost saving over their fossil fuel-based counterparts and require less energy to produce.
Going forward, Ford’s goal is to expand the use of recycled ocean plastics. Plans for future products using recycled ocean plastics include transmission brackets, wire shields, and floor side rails. All the parts are stationary and have strength and durability requirements that align with the characteristics of recycled ocean plastics.
The plastics Ford uses come from the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. DSM Engineering Materials collects discarded nylon fishing nets, cleans them, dries them, and extrudes the material to form small pellets. Another company, Ford supplier HellermannTyton, then injection-molds the parts into the desired shape for the wiring harness clips. Plastics are used to produce all manner of consumer products, but this is the first time automotive components have been included.
The use of ocean-recovered plastics in the Bronco Sport isn’t Ford’s first effort with recycled materials. In 2020, the automaker used recycled water bottles to produce noise-reducing underbody shiels on the Ford Escape. The automaker notes that up to 13 million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans each year, much of which comprises what’s known as “ghost gear,” which refers to discarded fishing nets and other equipment. Nearly 10 percent of all sea-based plastic comes from ghost gear, which endangers all manner of underwater wildlife.
Ford is the source of information for this article. It was accurate on December 8, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.