DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. said it has boosted recycled content to at least 25 percent for all plastic parts molded at one of its components plants, a first for the automaker. Ford said its Sheldon Road plant in Plymouth, Mich., uses more than 6.75 million pounds of recycled bottle caps, plastic strapping and bale wrap to make air conditioner and heater housings for 19 different North American-built cars and trucks.
The Sheldon plant, part of Ford's Automotive Components Division, consumes 27 million pounds of plastic annually. The use of the recycled plastic saved Ford more than $1 million compared with what it would have had to pay for an equal volume of virgin resin.
Ford hopes the plant, with 41 injection presses, will increase the use of recycled content to 50 percent for plastic parts, said Plant Manager Cliff Dawson.
In doing so, Ford wants to ensure that molded parts with recycled content perform to the same criteria set for parts made wholly of virgin material. Another key to the program is maintaining an adequate supply of post-consumer plastic for the recycled content, an effort that has been ``very successful'' to date, Dawson said.
The volume of recycled plastic used at the Sheldon plant would fill four football fields, waist deep, with bottle caps, Ford said.
The plant employs 1,900.