Unifi to Supply Ford Focus with Recycled Plastic

Automaker will use company’s Repreve fiber line in the seat fabric for its new Ford Focus.

December 1, 2011

Ford Motor has chosen Unifi’s line of Repreve fiber to supply the company with recycled plastic that will be used in the seat fabric for its new Ford Focus Electric. The Repreve line of plastic is made from a hybrid blend of recycled materials.
According to Unifi, based in Greensboro, N.C., 22 plastic, 16-ounce water bottles are used in the seat fabric of a single Focus Electric. 
Ford is the first automaker to use Repreve’s branded fiber in its seat fabric.
“What better vehicle than the Focus Electric to put seat fabric made of recycled materials,” says Carol Kordich, Ford’s lead designer of sustainable materials. “Not only does the use of this fabric in Focus Electric help reduce waste, it also helps to offset the need to produce new raw material from crude oil—a process that consumes precious energy and natural resources.”
“We are excited to work with Ford for the introduction of Repreve into the automotive industry,” Roger Berrier, Unifi president and COO, says. “As Repreve continues to expand into new applications and markets, consumers are becoming more aware of companies like Ford and Unifi working together to make a positive impact on the environment.”
In 2009 Ford mandated that fabric suppliers use a minimum of 25 percent recycled content for all 2009 and beyond model year vehicles. Since then, 37 different fabrics meeting the requirements have been developed and incorporated into Ford vehicles.
Kordich adds that Ford is taking it a step further by mandating that fabric be 100 percent sustainable in vehicles with eco-conscious powertrains like Focus Electric. 
Repreve fits the bill, she says, because it is a combination of post-industrial fiber waste and post-consumer waste, like the plastic water bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate plastic. Using Repreve also reduces energy consumption by offsetting the need to use newly refined crude oil for production.