• Dec 3, 2010
2012 Ford Focus – Click above for high-res image gallery

Old blue jeans, discarded T-shirts and dingy cotton rags oftentimes end up in the trash, but Ford Motor Company has found a way to take these sweat-stained materials and spring them back to life in the 2012 Focus. Ford has scavenged together enough recycled cotton to make soundproofing material and carpet backing for the Focus' interior. By using recycled materials, the automaker has helped divert waste from landfills and reduce the need for virgin fibers.

Carrie Majeske, Ford's sustainability manager, believes that consumers will appreciate the automaker's commitment to using eco-friendly interior materials, stating:
The good news is these jeans didn't end up in a landfill, nor did we use the water, fertilizer and land to grow virgin cotton. It's an alternative that our customers can appreciate, it's cost effective, and it's better for our planet. These are the kinds of sustainable solutions we are looking for in all our vehicles.
So, the next time you're about to pitch your holey blue jeans, think about the bits and pieces of car interior that you're practically throwing in the trash.

[Source: Ford]



  • Ford is using recycled cottons in the interior of the new 2012 Focus as part of carpet backing and sound absorption material
  • Cotton from post-consumer, recycled blue jeans is an example of the material used in the new Focus as part of the drive to find creative eco-friendly materials
  • The use of environmentally friendly materials is part of the company's commitment to "reduce, reuse and recycle"
DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 30, 2010 – Old clothes turn up in plenty of places – the hamper, the bottom of a closet, behind the washing machine. They're also found in the next-generation Ford Focus, albeit in different and more useful forms.

The 2012 Focus, on sale early next year in North America and Europe, uses these cottons from recycled clothing in areas such as carpet backing and sound-absorption materials for interior quietness. Using environmentally friendly materials, including recycled clothing, is one part of Ford's overall green strategy.

"Ford is continually looking for greener alternatives," said Carrie Majeske, product sustainability manager. "One of our key goals is to use more recycled or renewable materials without compromising performance or durability. Recycled content is a way to divert waste from landfills and reduce the impact of mining virgin material."

Ford's "reduce, reuse and recycle" commitment is part of the company's broader global sustainability strategy to reduce its environmental footprint while at the same time accelerating the development of advanced, fuel-efficient vehicle technologies around the world.

Over the past several years, Ford has concentrated on increasing the use of non-metal recycled and bio-based materials, including soy foam seat cushions, recycled resins for underbody systems, recycled yarns on seat covers and natural-fiber plastic for interior components.

Creative, eco-friendly solutions
Ford vehicles continue to become more eco-friendly through the creative use of renewable and recycled materials. For instance, one of the clothing materials used in the next-generation Focus is post-consumer cotton that comes from recycled blue jeans.

"The good news is these jeans didn't end up in a landfill, nor did we use the water, fertilizer and land to grow virgin cotton," Majeske said. "It's an alternative that our customers can appreciate, it's cost effective, and it's better for our planet. These are the kinds of sustainable solutions we are looking for in all our vehicles."

The amount of post-consumer cotton from blue jeans used in a vehicle comes out to roughly two pairs of average-sized American jeans, based on pounds of cotton used per yard of denim and the yards of denim used to make a pair of jeans.

"Great fuel economy is our first priority for reducing the vehicle's impact on the environment," said Majeske. "As we deliver that, we also seek to use materials inside a vehicle that reduce the environmental impact as well. The use of recycled clothing is one step, but what else are people discarding that could be used in our vehicles? Ford is determined to find out."

The new Focus is the result of a global product development program bringing together Ford's best engineers and designers from around the world. The high-tech, fuel-efficient Focus will be manufactured in Ford plants in Asia, Europe and North America.


About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 163,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, production of which has been announced by the company to be ending in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      This isn't exactly news - recycled fibers have been used in automotive carpet and soundproofing for quite some time.

      Kudos to Ford on getting some green press, I suppose.

      • 4 Years Ago
      This is not an unexpected way. Recycled fibers are generally shorter fibers. So they can't be used for many uses. This makes them cheaper. So if you have a use you can use shorter fibers for, you are likely to buy these short, recycled fibers since they are cheaper. This is what Ford is doing and everyone else too.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The single "greenest" thing that car companies could do would be to stop planned obsolescence. Cars should be designed to last as long as possible.

      All companies should use the year that a vehicle is sold as the model year. This takes the pressure off of making change for changes sake. It also (hopefully) will reduce the prevalence of planned obsolescence; and increase the durability and the recycle-ability of the materials used. All these things would greatly lower costs over the long run.

      All design changes should be based on functional improvements. Imagine it: higher and higher reliability, better and better efficiency, continuous safety improvements, more and more recycled materials, design changes based on owner’s needs — what a concept!

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you buy an off-brand Chinese pack the size of a car pack you deserve what you get. Just good luck trying to collect on your fire insurance when your house burns down and they find out you had a "tuner" pack in there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "That wont happen though because auto manufacturers know that using proprietary battery packs will make them more money when it comes time for replacement."

        When battery technology is rapidly evolving, how can you make anything standard?

        By the way, voltages and capacities are already standard. China is flooding the lithium battery market like crazy, and will continue to do so for some time. Finding a replacement cell of the same voltage, capacity, and dimensions is extremely easy since there are only two major battery voltage ranges being used.

        You would be surprised at how non-proprietary electric drive systems are in comparison to gasoline engines. An electric motor has maybe 10 wires coming out of it, tops. Sometimes no more than 6 if we're talking about a standard issue brushless motor. Electric drive is *truly* a wild west for tuning, upgrading, swapping, etc.

        • 4 Years Ago
        You have a stellar point, Niel.
        The carbon footprint of making just one car is huge. If a car only lasts 5-7 years, it is a huge waste. In a gas car, at that point.. the manufacturing process could literally have polluted more than putting 100,000 miles on the odometer.

        Planned obsolescence is terrible. At the same time, all of the mandatory safety and emissions equipment does really tack on a huge amount of $ to each car. So everyone seems to be in the habit of cutting corners wherever possible, and that situation has gradually been getting worse since the 80's.

        Like i always say... i'll keep my 90's cars, thank you very much.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No auto exec in his right mind is going to take steps to reduce repeat business to zero.

        But these days with oil becoming more scarce auto companies don't really need to build in planned obsolescence, indeed many vehicles sold today may last longer than the cheap oil that powers them and we will end up junking ice vehicles that run perfectly fine but are too expensive to drive.

        As the price of gas goes up EVs will still become the ride of choice for anyone that has to work for a living.

        The best thing to make EVs last long would be to mandate that battery packs be made up of a small number of standardized cells(A, B, C, D, etc) with similar size, shape & power output. That way you could replace individual cells as they failed or failed to hold enough charge. You could replace cells with less capacity with newer high capacity cells. Any battery manufacturer(LG, A123, Energizer, Duracell, Samsung) could produce cells that could be used in any number of vehicles. They would compete on price, capacity and warranty.

        That wont happen though because auto manufacturers know that using proprietary battery packs will make them more money when it comes time for replacement. They want to sell EVs like ipods where the battery is sealed and you throw it away every few years in order to buy the new higher capacity model.

        Obsolescence is already built into the new pluging vehicles comming on the market. The
        on-board charger for the volt & the leaf can only do level 2 charging at 3kW, which is painfully slow if you have to fill an empty battery. They will wait a few years and then release V2.0 with the ability to do faster charging.