Ford and McDonald’s Join Forces For Sustainable Part Manufacturing


Ford and McDonald’s both have volunteered to pave the way to discover environmentally healthy solutions for big businesses to grow. Ford continues to progress towards using recycled and renewable plastics in vehicles, and McDonald’s is working towards using 100 percent of its guest packaging from renewable, recycled, or certified sources by 2025. Sharing the same passion, Ford and McDonald’s partnered together to find out how else they can utilize unused waste. Their collaborative efforts discovered that coffee chaff- the dried skin of the bean- can be repurposed into car parts.


“McDonald’s commitment to innovation was impressive to us and matched our own forward-thinking vision and action for sustainability,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader, sustainability and emerging materials research team. “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.”


The coffee chaff naturally comes off during the roasting process and millions of pounds are disposed of each year. Now, instead of letting it go to waste, Ford and McDonald’s discovered it can be repurposed into material for car parts such as headlamp housing, interior parts, and parts under the hood. Ford and McDonald’s discovered that by heating the coffee chaff to a high temperature with low oxygen levels and mixing it with plastic and other additives allows the material to be molded into various shapes and forms. Not only does the chaff composite meet the quality specifications for car parts such as the headlamp housing, but it also requires up to 25 percent less energy during the molding process and results in a product that is 20 percent lighter.


“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. “By finding a way to use coffee chaff as a resource, we are elevating how companies together can increase participation in the closed-loop economy.”


This collaboration also included Varroc Lighting Systems and Competitive Green Technologies. Ford and McDonald’s see this discovery as the first of many as they continue on their mission to find ways to repurpose waste materials. McDonald’s and Ford will continue their partnership as McDonald’s is expected to direct a large portion of its coffee chaff in North America to Ford.


In hopes to help the environment Ford has many hybrid vehicles currently on the market and have announced their first all-electric production vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E. If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly vehicle, stop by Winner Ford Cherry Hill today!

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