I was surprised to find a shipping box sitting on the table with the rest of my mail yesterday when I got home. The return address stated that it had come from Ford, and my curiosity was piqued. I hadn't requested any information from them or anything, so I tore open the box to see what was contained therein. To my surprise, it was a tote bag. Neutral-colored and emblazoned with both the Ford oval and the Escape SUV's logo, the enclosed letter explained that the bag is made of the very same recycled materials used to upholster the seats in the 2008 Escape and Escape Hybrid. The greener material is supplied to Ford by InterfaceFABRIC, who estimates that the automaker could conserve 600,000 gallons of water, the equivalent of 1.8 million pounds of C02, and the equivalent of 7,000,000 kilowatt hours of electricity on an annual basis by using post-industrial materials in its vehicle interiors.
All too often, people get hung up in powertrain technology debates when thinking of ways to "green" the automobile. The total solution goes deeper than that. Moves like this by Ford, as well as other innovative programs like Honda's planned use of bio-fabrics, could prove to be very important over the long term, albeit in different ways, if they'e widely adopted. Assuming the alternatives are as comfortable as regular fabric seats, then it should be a pretty easy sell for the consumer.

The attached gallery has a close-up of the fabric itself, and the explanation behind it on the tag affixed to the tote.


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