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Ford Turns Old Tires into New Gaskets, Seals

Ford and Recycled Polymeric Materials have found a way to combine discarded tires with bio-renewable content and make environmentally friendly seals and gaskets for the auto giant’s vehicles.

The gaskets and seals are derived from 25 percent post-consumer, recycled tire particulate and 17 percent bio-renewable content from soy.

In total, 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. Additionally, 150,000 pounds of soy has been used to create the materials, Ford says.

The seals also offer a weight saving, with more than 1,675 tons of weight removed from Ford vehicles on the road.

The sustainable gaskets were first introduced to Ford in 2008, and have now expanded to include 11 vehicles. Ford Motor Company vehicles that feature the sustainable seals and gaskets include:

  • Ford Escape
  • Ford F-150
  • Ford F-250
  • Ford F-350
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Ford Flex
  • Ford Focus
  • Ford Mustang
  • Ford Taurus
  • Ford Transit Connect
  • Lincoln MKS

Ford’s “reduce, reuse and recycle” commitment is part of the company’s broader global sustainability strategy to reduce its environmental footprint.

“When it comes to finding a way to use more renewable and recyclable content, Ford and our suppliers are looking at every part of a vehicle,” said Dr. Cynthia Flanigan, technical leader, research and innovation. “As long as an application meets our strict quality and performance standards, we’ll strive to get these sustainable materials on our vehicles.”

“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.”

In April, the automaker announced that it had turned nearly 4.1 million pounds of carpet into cylinder head covers.

The Ford Escape, Fusion, Mustang and F-150 all use EcoLon, a nylon resin made entirely from recycled carpet. Wellman Engineering Resins makes the material, and Dana Holding Corporation uses the material to make the cylinder head covers.

By April the process had recycled an amount of carpet equivalent to nearly 154 football fields, preventing the use of more than 430,000 gallons of oil.

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