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Our cars are 85 percent recyclable, Ford says

Automaker has also been adding sustainable raw materials or recycled materials for components in select cars. Is the U.S. automaker aiming for the 2011 World Green Car of the Year award?

Ford Motor announced Wednesday that 85 percent (by weight) of each Ford vehicle made now is recyclable.

Apparently, CEO Bill Ford's misspent youth carousing with "known and suspected environmentalists" back in the day has paid off. And it seems to be the little things that count, according to Ford Motor.

Ford Motor

In addition to the usual car parts that have been recycled for years, Ford has also been adding sustainable raw materials or recycled materials for components in select cars.

Ford's use of components like splash shields and engine covers made from post-consumer recycled plastics has prevented an estimated 25 million to 30 million pounds of plastic from going into landfills, according to company statistics.

The 2010 Ford Taurus, for example, will be the 11th Ford vehicle to have seat cushions, seatbacks, and headrests made from soy and biomass-based foam. Ford-produced vehicles that already have this include: the Ford Mustang, F-150, Focus, Flex, Escape, Expedition, Econoline, Mercury Mariner, Lincoln MKS, and Lincoln Navigator.

The company is also using seat fabrics made from recycled yarn in the Ford Escape and Escape Hybrid, and in the 2010 Ford Flex the storage bins are made from wheat straw-reinforced plastic. lts goal is to eventually make cars where none of the plastic components are made from petroleum, but from things that are completely compostable.

"Natural fiber-reinforced plastics and plant-based polymer resins help reduce CO2 emissions by being entirely compostable, and in some cases reduce weight, which helps improve fuel economy," Debbie Mielewski, technical leader of Ford Plastics Research, said in a statement.

So, why is Ford suddenly spinning all this oh-we-forgot-to-mention-we've-always-been-environmentalists info now? In addition to it being Earth Day, it could be that Ford is as flabbergasted as the rest of us that the 2010 World Green Car of the Year award went to a green branding program instead of an actual car. Volkswagen won the prestigious car award for its BlueMotion versions of the Golf, Passat, and Polo. BlueMotion is their brand name for the versions of the cars that include extra efficiency technology.

Perhaps Ford is taking it one step further and planning to add sustainable materials into its own green branding of cars.