One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
More and more companies are looking for ways to reduce the amount of plastic in their products and find sustainable replacements. Ford has teamed up with McDonald’s to use coffee waste to make car parts.
Every day, McDonald’s serves 500 million cups of coffee in the U.S. alone. The Ford team discovered that the coffee chaff- the skin of a coffee bean that comes off when roasting- can be mixed with other materials to make headlamp housings and other car parts.
Coffee roasters usually just dispose of the husks and see them as a nuisance, so this partnership is a win-win. McDonald’s coffee suppliers in North America will send a significant amount of their coffee chaff to Ford.
Starting this year, Ford will incorporate coffee chaff into the headlamp housings of some of their cars. The coffee waste will replace talc, which will make the product 20% lighter. This slight decrease in weight will improve the energy efficiency of the vehicle and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The new product will actually be more heat resistant and even better than the current product used.
Debbie Miewelski, senior technical leader of materials sustainability for Ford, said, “McDonald’s commitment to innovation was impressive to us and matched our own forward-thinking vision and action for sustainability. This has been a priority for Ford for over 20 years, and this is an example of jump starting the closed-loop economy, where different industries work together and exchange materials that otherwise would be side or waste products.”
Ford hopes to incorporate coffee chaff into other car parts in the future. Both companies will continue to look for ways to use waste as a resource.
Ian Olson, senior director of global sustainability at McDonald’s, said, “This is just scratching the surface of trying to understand what’s possible.”
Watch the video below to find out more about the process. Together we can make a difference.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.