DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. and McDonald's have brewed up a way to make some vehicle parts lighter and more sustainable while reducing waste.
The automaker is using coffee-bean remnants from McDonald's to make headlight housings for the Lincoln Continental.
Ford plans to use the composite material in a number of vehicles, including the Mustang. McDonald's said it would donate "a significant portion" of its North American coffee chaff to the cause.
"McDonald's commitment to innovation was impressive to us and matched our own forward-thinking vision and action for sustainability," Debbie Mielewski, senior technical leader of Ford's sustainability and emerging materials research team, said in a statement. "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."
Ford has a long history of using sustainable materials to build vehicles. Company founder Henry Ford used soybean-based plastics in his products.
In recent years, Mielewski's team has used agave plants, dandelions, tomato skins and shredded money, among other materials. Many of the materials come from partners including Jose Cuervo, Coca-Cola and Nike.
The McDonald's project also involves Varroc Lighting Systems, which supplies the headlamps, and Competitive Green Technologies, which processes the coffee chaff.