Ford recycles tires to make gaskets, seals

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The Ford Motor Co. and supplier Recycled Polymeric Materials (RPM) have found a way to put discarded tires to good use. By combining recycled tires with bio-renewable content, they are delivering environmentally friendly seals and gaskets for Ford vehicles.

The gaskets and seals are derived from 25% post-consumer particulate from recycled tires and 17% bio-renewable content from soy. More than 2.2 million pounds of rubber from recycled tires has been made into RPM seals and gaskets and more than 210,000 used tires have been recycled.

In addition, 150,000 pounds of soy has been used to create the materials. The seals also offer a weight savings, with more than 1,675 tons of weight removed from Ford vehicles on the road, says Ford.

"When it comes to finding a way to use more renewable and recyclable content in our vehicles, Ford and our suppliers are looking at every part of a vehicle," says Dr. Cynthia Flanigan, technical leader, Research and Innovation. "As long as an application makes sense and upholds strict quality standards, we'll look to get these sustainable materials inside our vehicles."

The sustainable gaskets were first introduced to Ford in 2008 and have now expanded to include 11 vehicles. Ford Motor Co. vehicles that feature the sustainable seals and gaskets include the Escape, the Ford F-150, the Ford F-250, Ford F-350, the Fiesta, the Flex, the Focus, the Mustang, the Taurus, the Transit Connect and the Lincoln MKS.

Ford says its "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.

"Our team continues to develop new technologies that reduce our environmental footprint," said Dr. Debbie Mielewski, technical leader, Plastics. "We have already been successful in incorporating soy foam seats on all North American vehicles and are actively expanding the research front into a variety of new plastics and rubber areas."

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