Manufacturing operations, whether for electronics, automobiles, or other consumer goods, are some of the largest consumers of energy and resources, so when a company of significant scale makes a commitment to using sustainable materials, it can make a big difference. And for auto manufacturing, there are few other models that can match the scale of the 2014 Ford F-150. The 2014 model of the popular truck utilizes sustainable materials in several areas.
A foam derived from soybeans is used for seat cushions, and post-industrial recycled cotton is used as a sound deadening material in the trucks, the equivalent of 10 pairs of jeans, 31 T-shirts, or 26 bath towels per vehicle. The latest material to be used in the F-150 is rice hulls in the electrical harnesses. The hulls are sourced from a rice farm in Arkansas, and replace a talc-based reinforcement in a polypropylene composite material sourced from supplier RheTech, based in Whitmore Lake, Michigan.
Other creative uses of recycled or sustainable material on the F-150 include valve covers made from recycled nylon carpet, recycled tires used to make underbody shields, and recycled soda bottles for wheel liners.
With overall F-Series sales of more than 600,000 units a year, the company estimates it uses 10 million pounds of recycled cotton per year.