WATCH | Ford turns coffee bean waste into car parts in collaboration with McDonald's

05 December 2019 - 13:26 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Coffee beans roasting over burning coals.
Coffee beans roasting over burning coals.
Image: Oliver Petrie/@visual-nomad

The collaboration of car maker Ford and fast food chain McDonald's is taking sustainability and recycling to a whole new level, as Ford announced on its website that it would manufacture car parts from coffee skin waste, which is also known as chaff, in a quest to help save the planet and spearhead sustainability.

The senior technical leader of sustainable materials at Ford, Debbie Mielewski, announced the news on Wednesday. The company has, in recent months, been working towards tapping into reducing waste and emissions, which it hopes will help the planet.

Ian Olsen, senior director of sustainability at McDonald's, said the company sources coffee beans from countries including Colombia, Guatemala and Costa Rica.

Describing the process of turning coffee chaff into car parts, Mielewski took Olsen through Ford's research and innovation centre, where the coffee waste is heated and mixed with plastic to create pellets, which are in turn moulded into various parts.

Olsen described this as “a great opportunity to bring sustainability to everyone".

For many years Ford has been using plastic and talc to manufacture parts but that will soon change, as Ford says coffee waste parts are lighter and have better heat properties.