|According to EPA estimates, Americans dispose of nearly 300 million scrap tires a year, many of which occupy undesirable landfill space due to health and environmental concerns resulting from their storage. Over the past three years, Ford Motor Company provided a second life for more than 2.2 million pounds of this wasted rubber by combining recycled tires with soybean oil in the gaskets and seals of 11 of its 2011-model-year vehicles.
Ford derives the Recycled Polymeric Materials (RPM) seals and gaskets from 25 percent post-consumer, recycled tire particulate and 17 percent bio-renewable content, recycling more than 210,000 used tires and incorporating 150,000 pounds of soybean oil. In addition to furthering Ford’s broader global sustainability strategy to reduce its environmental footprint, the seals reduce weight, removing more than 1, 675 tons from Ford vehicles on the road.
“Ford has a rich history collaborating with the soybean farming community including recent research partnerships with the United Soybean Board (USB),” says Cynthia Flanigan, Ph.D., technical leader, Research and Innovation. “We are committed to developing environmentally friendly technologies and have been successful in implementing soybeans in a variety of applications, including seats, headrests, headliners, and now, in gaskets and seals. Since the U.S. is a leader in soybean production, soy has been a prominent choice for these bio-based parts.”
Ford Motor Company vehicles that feature the sustainable seals and gaskets include the: Ford Escape; Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 trucks; Ford Fiesta; Ford Flex; Ford Focus; Ford Mustang; and Ford Taurus.
USB funds research and supports the development of soy products and technology like soy polyols, foams, plastics and other products that can help replace petrochemicals in industrial products. Many soy-based products, ingredients, and intermediates exist for a variety of industries that can be found in USB’s Soy Products Guide online, including soy-based products for the auto industry like gaskets.