Both plastic bottles and car interiors can be made from PET, short for polyethylene terephthalate. Back in 2009, Coca-Cola started to make bottles using PlantBottle Technology, a method that made PET but used sustainable plants in place of petroleum. Todd Nissen, a spokesman for Ford, said that PlantBottle technology caught the company’s eye.
“We actually announced an initiative that wasn’t only with Coke but with Heinz, Nike and Procter & Gamble as well,” he told ABC News. “Out of those talks came the idea that we could use Coke’s technology and turn PET into a fabric.”
Scott Vitters, general manager of the PlantBottle packaging platform at Coca-Cola, said the collaboration shows that the groundbreaking technology can be applied anywhere PET plastic is traditionally used, but with a lighter carbon footprint.
“We hope to drive awareness that PlantBottle Technology can be used across the entire polyester universe – in everything from the inside of a car, to carpet, to clothing,” he said. “Ford is highlighting the potential for a future of renewably sourced, low-carbon polyester fibers that can be recycled again and again.”
The seeds of the partnership were planted about two years ago, when R&D teams from Coke and Ford came together to talk sustainable innovation. Both companies use PET – a durable, lightweight plastic – in a variety of products, including plastic bottles, fabrics and carpets. And both share a commitment to developing innovative products produced from renewable materials.
John Viera, Ford’s global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters, added: “By using PlantBottle Technology in a plug-in hybrid, Ford and Coca-Cola are showing the broad potential to leverage renewable materials that help replace petroleum and other fossil fuels, reducing the overall environmental impact of future vehicles.”
According to the two companies, material equivalent to 38.9 clear-plastic 16-ounce (498g) recycled bottles goes into select cloth-seat Fusion models.