Ah, so does this explain why Ford seats are so uncomfortable? I kid... it is wise of them to publicize such things. I bet they could see even more benefits from trying to use even more recycled materials, as so many people are trying to live green these days!
Yes, I agree that Ford should be commended. This could lead to more sustainable materials getting used in auto interiors. If the suppliers working to produce materials for Ford develop competitive auto interior materials, this could spread throughout the auto industry.
Ford's resolve forpersistance to tidy & sustainable materials is to be commended. As an example, it now mandates that its vehicles with eco-friendly powertrains, such as Focus, contain fabrics which can be sustainable. & possesses given less stringent mandates to suppliers for its other cars wholesale auto parts.
Yes, there's a ton of it, Chuck. It's been showing up for about four or five years from a wide variety of companies. I get a stream of press releases from PR Newswire for my Green Scene page. I get about 10 to 15 greenwash releases each week.
Yes, there's a lot if it, Jim. The one good part is that it indicates a recognition that green products and processes have become an important value in the culture. That will likely lead to improvements even if there is plenty of greenwash along the way.
Alex, thanks for that reference. The book "Fast Food Nation" was first published in Rolling Stone as a multi-part series years back. It shook up a lot of people, rightfully so I think. I had stopped eating junk food by then, but I made sure my hamburgers, and my beef, when I do eat them, only come from organic and/or natural sources. FFN discusses practices that are used in the huge fast food industry, which may represent 99% of beef production, but fortunately, not 100%.
As regards cows, I highly recommend the book (as opposed to the movie or wikipedia entry) "Fast Food Nation." The salient line is "There is s*** in the beef." It's enough to turn you off eating meat, in the same way "Super Size Me" turns on off McNuggets. Personally, I still eat hamburgers, so I guess I should reread the book. (I've never been a chicken fan to begin with.)
All very good questions, Alex. Perhaps someone at Ford has the answers to them, although I doubt the company would want to be that forthcoming with the details.
Regarding cows, there wouldn't be any to take their leather from for upholstery, clothing, shoes, or any other large-scale uses if they weren't being raised in huge quantities. But their wastes (along with those of swine) are major sources of water pollution. Removing one or two does not affect total methane production that much and it has essentially zero effect on water pollution.
Much of the problem, I think, lies in the fact that in the US so many efforts are onesy-twosy point solutions by one or two companies here and there, instead of systematic, unified, industry-wide or even country-wide efforts such as the Europeans or the Japanese are so good at. They don't seem to have worried about how many plastic bottles are available for recycling or what will happen to the price of plastic by recycling it! They just make it happen through collective effort, something many Americans seem to have forgotten how to do. Many countries have decided that green goals and business goals can go hand in hand. OTOH, closed loop recycling is already in place in several industries, here as well as abroad.
On the subject of greenwash, Rob (unrelated to this particular article): You can look on any media website of any car company on any day and see at least one greenwash story. One automaker today has a story about how one of its brands is "pioneering an auto environmental label." It also has another story about how one of its brands has created a "smartphone game to raise MPG awareness." Another automaker has a story about how one its models "earned accolades from GreenCar Journal." Sheesh.
I wonder what the economics is on the recycler side. Does Ford get the raw materials (bottle) essentially for free (or for shipping costs)? Also, now that there's demand for used plastic bottles, will their cost go up and thus make the recycled CES plastic more expensive. What's the business model for the companies which collect the bottles? (I.e., how have they heretofore made money and how does the rise of these useful apps -- seats and the bridge you wrote about -- alter the demand landscape and thus potentially the economics?
In many engineering workplaces, there’s a generational conflict between recent engineering graduates and older, more experienced engineers. However, a recent study published in the psychology journal Cognition suggests that both may have something to learn from another group: 4 year olds.
Conventional wisdom holds that MIT, Cal Tech, and Stanford are three of the country’s best undergraduate engineering schools. Unfortunately, when conventional wisdom visits the topic of best engineering schools, it too often leaves out some of the most distinguished programs that don’t happen to offer PhD-level degrees.
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