Climate Action

McDonalds join forces with Ford for a double shot of sustainability

Together McDonalds and Ford Motor Company are changing the way companies manage waste and approach sustainability.

  • 06 December 2019
  • Samiirah Nur

Together McDonalds and Ford Motor Company are changing the way companies manage waste and approach sustainability. 

McDonalds and Ford Motor Company are joining forces for a new sustainability initiative. Although the two companies are from entirely different sectors, they are coming together to create a renewable future. 

Now, coffee waste from McDonalds, called chaff, is being used to produce a new standard in vehicle production. Chaff is the skin of a coffee bean, which naturally comes off during the roasting process. 

“The companies found that chaff can be converted into a durable material to reinforce certain vehicle parts. By heating the chaff to high temperatures under low oxygen, mixing it with plastic and other additives and turning it into pellets, the material can be formed into various shapes. The resulting components will be about 20 percent lighter and require up to 25 percent less energy during the molding process.” Ford explained in a press release. 

Although the fast-food and auto giants have not outlined an exact timeline for their collaboration, Ford already utilizes bioplastics in a variety of ways and McDonalds is committed to sourcing its packaging from renewable, recycled or certified sources by 2025. 

“This has been a priority for Ford for over 20 years and 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 product,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader, sustainability and emerging materials research team.

Last month,McDonalds announced a new wide-ranging sustainability programme to remove and minimise plastic and improve recyclability in packaging across Europe.

Photograph: Ford Motor Company