Heinz, the famous company, whose products make it to (almost) every single barbeque party, is now teaming up with Ford, the company, whose cars are present at (almost) every single junction, to make bioplastics.
The tomato ketchup makers will give the input material, which is the unwanted tomato skin leftovers from the production process, while the car makers will use these to produce the eco-material that is super light and has the potential to reduce fuel consumption enormously, if used in the making of cars.
Hats off to Ford, who have really tried it all, or at least this is what one could think every time we hear about their latest attempt to green up their vehicles. They teamed up with Google, to come up with a strategy to optimize hybrid car fuel efficiency, signed a deal with Ecovative to make car parts from mushrooms, they looked into using recycled PET bottles to manufacture car accessories, and they even used bubble-infused plastics to make their vehicles lighter. Although I have not mentioned even half of the company’s great attempts to include recycled materials in their vehicles, the latest one cannot go unreported. The reason that this one is particularly important is that it addresses two major issues: handling food waste and developing biodegradable plastics.
So, the members of the dream-team are Heinz and Ford. Heinz will be supplying tomato skins to Ford, who will then mix these with polyproprylene, and then heated up at very low temperatures to preserve the natural fibers. The result will be- bioplastics that are produced using very little energy, and are made of tomato fibers instead of talc. Ford is planning to use the material for making the storage bins of their vehicles. Because tomato fibers are much lighter than talc, the vehicles will consequently be also lighter, and therefore the fuel consumption will be much lower. What is more, the material will be 100% recyclable, making it even more desirable.
Currently, the development of the tomato-based bioplastics is still at the stage of feasibility testing. However, the two companies already have the vision for the future, and have even selected the third party, who will manufacture the parts, once the bioplastics are considered suitable for production. Knowing Ford, and how great they have been doing in bringing a product from testing labs to the market in no time, it will not be surprising if this material comes to us within the next two years.
Image (c) Heinz