Ford and McDonald’s team up to turn coffee waste into car parts

If you’re like us, your consumption of coffee is probably quite significantly above average. We don’t blame you, coffee is heckin’ delicious. But did you know that coffee generates quite a large amount of waste – and we’re not just talking about those single-use plastic coffee cups. 

During the roasting process, a layer of dry skin – called chaff – is removed and usually discarded as waste. However, Ford wants to turn the skin into car parts, and have teamed up with McDonald’s to turn their coffee waste into Ford car components.

Here’s how it works: The chaff is heated up to high temperatures under low oxygen, then mixed with plastic and additives to turn it into pellets. These pellets are then formed into various shapes as required. 

Ford says that the chaff composite meets the quality specifications for parts such as headlamp housings and other interior and under hood components. The resulting components are also about 20% lighter, and require 25% less energy to mold. 

Ford Senior technical leader, Debbie Mielewski, said that the material is “even better than what we currently use” in the video above. “No compromises, it’s better,” she added.

This is not the first time Ford has experimented with bio-based materials and agricultural by-products either. The American carmaker was the first to use soybean-based foam for seats and headliners back in 2007, and has since used wheat straw, recycled cotton, rice hull, tomato skin, captured CO2, and even recycled currency for various car components. 

Thanks Ford and McDonald’s, for making our addiction a little better for the environment. Time for another refill..


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