The Ford Bronco Sport isn't out to be the most sustainable car on the planet, but it now highlights how Ford's getting creative when it comes to sustainability matters. On Wednesday, the automaker said the SUV now uses 100% recycled ocean plastic to create the Bronco Sport's wiring harness clips.
Not only does the entire process of pulling discarded plastics from fishing nets and other "ghost gear," as its known, help protect sea life and clean up our planet's waters, Ford actually found it's strong. Like, really strong. Compared to petroleum-based parts the automaker previously used, the recycled plastics equal it in durability and strength tests. And the whole manufacturing process is 10% cheaper and uses less energy to create.
It's a win on numerous fronts, and the automaker said it's a "large first step" in plans to produce more parts with recycled waste. Pew Charitable Trusts, a global nongovernmental organization, estimates 13 million metric tons of plastic finds its way to the ocean every year. These fishing nets and other pieces of discarded ghost gear make up about 10% of the litter. For now, Ford's focused on grabbing this crud from the Indian and Arabian Oceans.
Drivers will never see the recycled parts, as they're mounted to the sides of the Bronco Sport's second-row seats to hold wires for the side-curtain airbags. However, Ford sees value in adding more recycled parts we may start to see and touch in future vehicles. In fact, the Ford Escape also uses recycled plastics from discarded water bottles. In the Bronco Sport's curvier cousin, this material makes the underbody shields.