Ford and McDonald’s Turn Coffee Chaff into Car Parts


As Ford continues to invest $11 billion in electric vehicles through 2022, and McDonald’s pursues their goal to source 100 percent of its guest packaging from renewable, recycled, or certified sources by 2025, the two businesses decided to come together for more environmentally friendly innovations. The collaboration sparked the unique finding of turning coffee chaff-the skin of the coffee bean- into various car parts such as headlamp housings, parts under the hood, as well as the interior.


“McDonald’s commitment to innovation was impressive to us and matched our own forward-thinking vision and action for sustainability,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader, sustainability and emerging materials research team. “This has been a priority for Ford for over 20 years, and this is an example of jump starting the closed-loop economy, where different industries work together and exchange materials that otherwise would be side or waste products.”


Millions of pounds of coffee chaff is naturally removed during the roasting process and turns into unused waste. To give this waste a purpose, Ford and McDonald’s partnered together and made a few discoveries. They realized that by increasing the heat and lowering the oxygen level, while also adding plastic and additives to the mix  the coffee chaff was able to mold into new material. Turning this material into car parts such as headlamp housings not only uses less energy in the molding process, but also results in a lighter product. They also found that the coffee chaff has better heating properties than the material that is currently being used for these vehicle parts.


“Like McDonald’s, Ford is committed to minimizing waste and we’re always looking for innovative ways to further that goal,” said Ian Olson, senior director, global sustainability, McDonald’s. “By finding a way to use coffee chaff as a resource, we are elevating how companies together can increase participation in the closed-loop economy.”


Ford and McDonald’s also received help from Varroc Lighting Systems, who supplied the headlamps, and Competitive Green Technologies, the processor of the coffee chaff. McDonald’s and Ford both plan to continue exploring ways companies can collaboratively repurpose waste, and McDonald’s is expected to provide a large portion of its coffee chaff from North America to Ford for their car parts.


In addition to using repurposed materials for their vehicles, Ford also has a large line-up of hybrid vehicles available and announced their first all-electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E. If you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly vehicle, stop by Carman Ford in New Castle today!

Categories: Parts, News
; ;