Ford Bronco Sport Production Adds Unexpected Ingredients That Will Make Our Oceans Cleaner

Ford announced that the Ford Bronco Sport is the first production vehicle to use recycled ocean plastic in its components. This is part of Ford’s initiative to employ 100 percent sustainable materials eventually. It’s also another step toward automakers everywhere helping to make our planet’s oceans cleaner. The Ford Bronco Sport only uses one small component made from recycled ocean plastic.

The Ford Bronco Sport uses recycled ocean plastic for one component

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport on rocks, it makes history as the first SUV to make oceans cleaner.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport | Ford

The Ford Bronco Sport uses recycled ocean plastic for a single component, and it’s nothing major. We’re not to the point that engines or chassis are made from recycled materials. However, every little bit counts when it comes to a cleaner ocean. The Ford Bronco Sport uses tiny wiring harness clips made from 100 percent recycled ocean plastic.

The wiring harness clips each weigh around five grams. Although the weight and amount aren’t much, it’s five grams closer to Ford’s 100 percent sustainable goal. The clips connect to wires on the sides of the second-row seats and near the side-curtain airbags.

Where does Ford get recycled ocean plastic?

An infographic displaying the process through which Ford goes to use recycled ocean plastic materials to make a component for the Ford Bronco Sport.
Ford Bronco Sport Recycled Plastics Graphic | Ford

Ford calls the materials “ghost gear” because it comes from discarded nylon fishing equipment. The equipment is collected from the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea then turned into wiring harness clips. The American automaker says that these wiring harness clips are as solid and reliable as new petroleum plastic ones.

Like the environment, Ford also benefits from this change. Recycled ocean plastics offer a 10 percent cost savings compared to their non-recycled counterpart. Not to mention, the recycled clips require less energy to make. According to Car and Driver, Ford vice president of research, Jim Buczkowski, said in a statement that the clips are “a strong example of circular economy.”

The Ford Bronco Sport is the first production vehicle to use recycled materials

It’s not even the first time Ford has used recycled plastics in its vehicles. In 2019, Ford announced that it used the equivalent of 250 bottles’ worth of recycled plastics on each new vehicle. Additionally, Volvo used recycled plastics for a demonstration vehicle in 2018. It was a Volvo XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid concept SUV, and it used “renewable fibers and plastics from discarded fishing nets and maritime ropes.” The Volvo SUV also used carpet and seats made from PET plastic bottles.

How much do tiny wiring harness clips actually help the ocean?

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13 million metric tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean every year, according to Ford. Each of the recycled clips represents 0.0000049 percent of that amount. Although that seems like nothing, the number would quickly rise if each vehicle made initiatives like this one. 10 percent of the ocean’s plastic waste is ghost gear, precisely what the automaker uses for the Ford Bronco Sport.

Ford stated that the clips represent just the first of many steps in its process. The American automaker plans to continue using recycled ocean plastic for more vehicle components in the future. This is a relatively new phenomenon in the automotive industry but old news elsewhere. Other brands have used recycled ocean plastic to make food packaging, backpacks, and so much more.

The ocean needs a lot of cleaning, and there’s a long way to go. Ford is taking a step in the right direction before other automakers. The Ford Bronco Sport is the first production vehicle using recycled ocean plastic. It also might be the beacon of light that inspires other brands to follow in its footsteps.

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