McDonald’s has announced a collaboration with Ford to divert a significant portion of its coffee waste in North America to be incorporated into vehicle parts.
The Ford research team and McDonald’s found that chaff – the dried skin on the bean that comes off during the roasting process – can be converted into a product that can be used to reinforce vehicle parts like headlamp housings and other interior and under hood components.
This development will also help make Ford products about 20 percent lighter and provide up to 25 percent energy savings during the molding of parts.
Currently, at McDonald’s each year, more than 62 million pounds of coffee chaff are discarded just in North America.
Debbie Mielewski, Ford’s senior technical leader, sustainability and emerging materials research team, says: “Ford has been a leader in sustainable materials for over 20 years, and now is the time to jump start the closed loop economy, where different industries work together and exchange materials that are either side or waste products.”
Ian Olson, senior director, global sustainability, McDonald’s, adds: “Like McDonald’s, Ford is committed to minimizing waste and we’re always looking for innovative solutions to further that goal. Together, by finding a way to use coffee chaff as a resource, we believe McDonald’s and Ford are elevating how companies can work together to increase participation in the circular economy.”
Ford says it’s progressing toward a goal of using only recycled and renewable plastics in vehicles globally, using an increasing range of sustainable materials. It already makes around 300 parts from renewable materials, with sustainable materials featured in production vehicles: soy, wheat, rice, tree cellulose, jute coconut and now coffee.