From Coffee Beans Come Car Parts

Teresa Madaleno

It is truly amazing what we humans can come up with when we apply just a little bit of modern technology with our own ingenuity, especially when it comes to the environment or I should say, preserving the environment. One of the latest creative ideas comes from Ford and McDonald’s; two household names.

Together the two corporate giants are turning coffee into car parts. Sounds crazy but it’s true. Reports, including those by CNN, indicate that Ford is using coffee chaff, which is the skin from coffee beans and is transforming it into plastic headlamp housing used in some of their cars. Ordinarily coffee chaff is a waste product created during the roasting process. McDonald’s became a partner because Ford obviously doesn’t roast its own coffee.

This coffee-based material is lighter and renewable. Ford executives are so pleased with their environment-friendly product that they hope one day they can use the material in more vehicles, as well as to manufacture more parts. Company officials have told media that they have been experimenting with coffee waste, as well as other types of waste for well over a decade. Some joke that the Ford lab looks like a “farm”.

McDonald’s is always searching for new opportunities to help the planet, and since the company has a large chain of restaurants with access to plenty of coffee, the project made sense. From coffee beans to car headlights, these corporations are showing the world how brands can work together to recycle everyday materials into new, useful products.

If we can get car parts from coffee waste, I wonder what else is possible?