Here's a new one for you: in Ford's efforts to boost sustainable use, it has teamed with Heinz to use tomato waste in various car parts.
According to Ford, researchers from both Ford and Heinz are collaborating on how to use tomato fibres in developing sustainable composite materials for use in vehicle manufacturing.
To be specific, Ford is looking at dried tomato skins which would be incorporated into wiring brackets, storage bins, and other small objects in the vehicle. “We are exploring whether this food processing byproduct makes sense for an automotive application,” commented Ellen Lee, plastics research technical specialist for Ford. “Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact,” she added.
According to Ford, it approached Heinz about two years ago, as well as with Coca-Cola, Nike, and Procter & Gamble about using 100% plant based plastic to be used in everything from fabric to packaging and with a smaller environmental footprint than petroleum-based packaging materials which dominate the industry.
Meanwhile, Heinz was looking for ways to recycle and reuse tomato parts, including peels, stems, and seeds from the 2 million tons of tomatoes the company buys each year to produce it's flagship Heinz Ketchup.
“Although we are in the very early stages of research, and many questions remain, we are excited about the possibilities this could produce for both Heinz and Ford, and the advancement of sustainable 100% plant-based plastics,” said Vidhu Nagpal, associate director, packaging R&D for Heinz.
Ford also looks to expand its use of bio-friendly material to incorporate coconuts, recycled cotton, and soy foam.