Ford claims 2011 Explorer is 85% recyclable - but aren't most cars?

2011 Ford Explorer – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ford's new 2011 Explorer represents a huge leap forward over previous iterations of the Blue Oval's mid-size SUV. In terms of efficiency, the 2011 model trumps previous Explorers by leaps and bounds. On the inside, Ford's use of eco-friendly soy-based foam has helped the company reduce its annual petroleum usage by 10,500 barrels. In addition, the use of recycled fibers on the Explorer's seats and carpeted areas reduce energy consumption by a claimed 20 percent over the traditional method of using virgin fibers.

While all of these features make the Explorer more green, Ford's latest claim regarding the vehicle's recyclability leaves us scratching our collective heads. Ford claims the 2011 Ford Explorer is 85 percent recyclable. While the number sounds impressive, we got to thinking, aren't most cars this recyclable, even Bentleys? This has been true since 2007, at least, when USCAR issued a statement that over 95 percent of vehicles in the U.S. "go through a market-driven recycling infrastructure" at the end-of-life and that the process recycles around 84 percent of each vehicle. Green Car Advisor claims, "the official average for vehicle recycling is 80 percent." Heck, the Think City EV is 95 percent recyclable, blunting the impact of Ford's claim. Follow the jump to learn more about Ford's eco-friendlier 2011 Explorer.

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[Source: Ford]



* The 2011 Ford Explorer is 85 percent recyclable. The reinvented SUV leverages Ford's industry-leading use of bio foam and recycled fabric in its interior, as well as recycled steel in select exterior parts
* Ford is reducing its use of virgin steel by an estimated 119 tons a year by making Explorer's noise-dampening fender baffles from the steel left over from stamping out the door openings of F-150 body sides
* 2011 Ford Explorer, the new fuel economy class leader in the midsize SUV segment, uses Ford's latest high-tech powertrains and mechanical enhancements to achieve fuel economy improvements of more than 30 percent without sacrificing performance

All-New 2011 Ford Explorer Sustainability

DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 5, 2010 – The all-new Ford Explorer is more than just the new fuel economy class leader in the midsize SUV segment. The reinvented Explorer, which arrives later this year, also sets a new benchmark for sustainability in the SUV segment due to an increased use of renewable and recycled content, such as parts made from steel left over from F-150 production.

The new Explorer also leverages Ford's industry-leading use of bio foam and recycled fabric in its interior. These and other eco-improvements help make Explorer 85 percent recyclable.

"Ford has made tremendous strides, not only in improving fuel economy in the new Explorer, but also in using more environmentally friendly materials," said Jim Holland, chief nameplate engineer. "By offering better fuel efficiency in an overall greener package, we're offering our SUV customers an appealing and sustainable product."

Explorer's eco-advantage
Ford is minimizing waste by making Explorer's noise-dampening fender baffles, which fit between the vehicle's outer shell and its inner structure, from steel left over after stamping the door openings out of F-150 body sides. The reuse allows Ford to reduce its use of virgin steel by an estimated 119 tons for one year of production. Using less virgin steel also reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 119 tons – about the same amount emitted by a midsize car driving the circumference of the earth 14 times.

The Explorer interior also incorporates sustainable materials to lessen its environmental impact. Explorer uses 25 percent recycled fiber in its interior fabrics, including seat upholstery, bolster and carpeting. The use of recycled fiber instead of virgin fiber results in an estimated 20 percent reduction in energy consumption, 17 percent waste elimination and 14 percent reduction in CO2 emissions for the Explorer's seating materials.

The new Explorer is the latest Ford vehicle to feature 40 percent soy polyurethane foam in seat cushions and seatbacks. Ford remains committed to using the bio-based material in nearly 100 percent of its North American vehicle lineup by the end of the year.

Soy foam has helped Ford reduce its annual petroleum oil usage by more than 10,500 barrels, and is up to 24 percent more renewable than petroleum-based foam. The use of soy foam also has helped Ford reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 11 million pounds – the annual equivalent of 965 typical American households.

"By increasing the use of recycled or renewable content in our vehicles whenever possible, Ford is helping reduce waste to landfills by millions of pounds – and the new Explorer is no exception," said Amy Marentic, group marketing manager, Ford Motor Company. "We believe customers will value these green features, as they help the environment without sacrificing the Explorer's capability, utility and safety."

Class-leading fuel efficiency
Fuel efficiency also plays a role in making the new Explorer a more sustainable SUV. The new Explorer excels at eco-friendly driving with two new fuel-efficient engines. The new engines include a responsive, fuel-efficient V6 and a turbocharged, direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost™ engine. The EcoBoost engine delivers more than 30 percent better fuel economy than the current V6-powered Explorer, without sacrificing capability and performance.

"When we asked Explorer customers what they wanted from the 2011 vehicle, they asked for the freedom and empowerment Explorer has always delivered, with improved performance and significantly increased fuel economy," Marentic said. "And that's exactly what they will get with the 2011 Explorer."

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 159,000 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

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