Following Ford’s recent announcement that they will use recycled plastic bottles for seat fabrics in the upcoming Focus Electric, the company’s efforts to increase the use of sustainable materials continues with the news that they will use kenaf plant fiber material for interior door bolsters for the new Escape.
Kenaf, blended with polypropylene in a 50-50 mixture, will reduce the door component's weight by 25% compared with conventional materials, while use of the plant fiber, Ford claims, will offset 300,000 pounds of oil-based resins annually in North America.
If you're unfamiliar with Kenaf, here's a little bit about this versatile material, as well as other eco-friendly attributes of the new Escape.
While Kenaf is native to Africa and is related to cotton, okra and hibiscus, it's adapted to grow in the southern United States and parts of California. The crop matures in about 150 days, and grows anywhere between 8 to 20 feet tall, but unlike its cousin, cotton, requires much less use of pesticides. The fibers from harvested kenaf have a great range of uses and can be found in rope, paper and building materials such as fiber board and insulation, as well as animal forage, animal litter, and a fiberglass substitute in molded plastic.