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Ford Finds That Recycled Plastic Bottles Make Car Carpets Last Longer

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author photo by Nick Chambers October 2011

As part of the company's rollout of other new, lower impact materials-which now includes soy foam seat cushions, recycled blue jean soundproofing, and plastic with bits of waste straw as filler, Ford says that each next generation Escape will have carpets that contain 25 recycled, 20 ounce plastic bottles per vehicle.

If sales of the completely redesigned 2013 Escape continue at the average pace of the current generation, Ford says the move has the potential to prevent more than four million plastic bottles from going to the landfill. And in a true win-win situation, the company's tests also show that the recycled plastic bottle fibers make the carpets last longer.

"The [plastic] fibers created from [recycled] pop bottles make up a nonwoven carpet material," said Laura Sinclair, a materials engineer at Ford. "Think of it like when you make spaghetti-everything is intermixed. If you have more fibers running on each other-rather than what's underneath, which can be more abrasive-that helps reduce wear."

By adding more recycled plastic bottle fibers to the carpeting the number of fibers rubbing on hard metal is reduced, which means you'll have to try harder to wear a hole down to the floor pan. In the 2013 Escape the carpet will also be backed by a new type of foam to further increase longevity, as well as provide the added benefit of reducing interior noise.

While plastic bottles have helped the world in many significant ways-including bringing desperately needed drinking water to millions of people in emergency situations-their ubiquity has led to vast amounts of them being thrown away.

If Ford proves they can prevent as many bottles from becoming waste as they say they can, and make their product better at the same time, other manufacturers will certainly follow suit-which could mean millions and millions of more plastic bottles will be prevented from an ugly fate at the bottom of a landfill.

The 2013 Escape will make its official debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show on November 16, and is due to go on sale in 2012.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Ford Finds That Recycled Plastic Bottles Make Car Carpets Last Longer - Autotrader