The partnership with McDonald's marks Ford foray into the coffee bean chaff-made vehicle part sector, which the fast-food chain is expected to supply a significant portion of its coffee chaff waste to the automaker.
Coffee chaff is the name given to a papery skin that comes off of a coffee bean during the roasting process. The resulting material is formed into pellets for use in vehicle part production.
By adding plastics and additives, and heating the chaff under low oxygen, you can create a new, durable and easily molded material. Compared with the traditional components that the bean skin parts - which are approximately 20% lighter - are replacing, 25% less energy is used to create them; Ford states that these parts "are significantly better than the now used material".
The components made using this new material will be 20 percent lighter, and have better heat properties than what Ford is now using.
The resultant auto parts will be 20 percent lighter - and therefore more fuel-efficient - and save the company up to 25 percent more energy during their manufacture.
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"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.
The plan is to start using this plastic in headlamps and interior panels, and expand "to a wide variety of additional Ford and Lincoln parts in the coming years", according to Ford senior technical leader Debbie Mielewski.
Ford is teaming up wtih McDonald's to turn the waste from coffee production into a new type of plastic that's lighter and stronger than conventional materials.
Chaff produced during the roasting produce for McDonald's will be shipped to Competitive Green Technologies, a biomaterials company in Ontario that will process the waste product into a raw bioplastic.
This collaboration supports the company's goal of using renewable and recyclable plastics in vehicles globally.
McDonald's is aiming to source 100 percent of its packaging from "renewable, recycled or certified sources" by 2025 and will continue to work with Ford. Both efforts are part of McDonald's Scale for Good initiative, a global commitment to use its size and scale to drive meaningful change. Ford employs approximately 191,000 people worldwide. Ninety-five percent of McDonald's 14,000 US restaurants are independently owned and operated by businessmen and women.