Although it may seem like one of the buzzwords at every new car launch these days, the term ‘sustainability’ is indeed an important one when it comes to protecting our planet, because obviously, we only have one Earth—at least for foreseeable future. In about 500 million years or so when the Sun begins to expand, Mars and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn will become habitable, but that’s a different story. The point is, recycling is important now more than ever. And so, carmakers are trying to do their bit by including some recycled content in their cars; these could be seat upholstery, headliner and floor mats.
As for Ford, the Bronco Sport uses wiring harness clips made from discarded plastic fishing nets, which apparently offer 10% cost savings compared to fresh plastic, in addition to offering other benefits such as cleaning up the oceans, sparing marine life from getting entangled, and providing jobs. The wiring harness clips in the Bronco Sport are the first of many the company plans to produce with such fishing nets.
“It is a strong example of circular economy, and while these clips are small, they are an important first step in our explorations to use recycled ocean plastics for additional parts in the future,” said Jim Buczkowski, Vice President of research and Henry Ford technical fellow.
Up to 13 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean from land each year, threatening marine life and polluting shorelines, according to Pew Charitable Trusts, an NGO. As you know, plastic in the ocean also comes from the fishing industry, which relies on plastic fishing nets and other equipment because of the durability, lightweight, buoyancy and low cost of the material. Those same qualities contribute to creating ghost nets, a fatal and growing threat to marine life. Ghost gear comprises nearly 10% of all sea-based plastic waste, entangling fish, sharks, dolphins, seals, sea turtles and birds.
Invisible to the occupants, the Bronco Sport’s wiring harness clips, which weigh about 5 grams, fasten to the sides of the second-row seats and guide wires that power side-curtain airbags. Despite spending time in saltwater and sunlight, the material is said to be as strong and durable as clips made from fresh plastic.