A strange combination has come to light this week courtesy of two of the U.S.'s best-known brands. Ford and Heinz have announced that they have been collaborating on research that uses tomato fiber to create a more environmentally friendly material for cars.
"We are exploring whether this food processing by-product makes sense for an automotive application," Ford's plastics research technical specialist Ellen Lee said. "Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact."
Heinz has more than two million tons of tomato waste to dispose of each year, as there is no place for stalks, pips and skins in either ketchup or the swimming pools-worth of tomato sauce that its baked beans, spaghetti hoops and alphabetti spaghetti swim in. It's amazing to think that a dried tomato skin could end up in your car as part of a wiring bracket or, say, a glove compartment that is meant for storing your coins, but usually ends up being a receptacle for all kinds of crud, from old tissues to Bic pen tops to hairy bits of candy that somehow avoided the trash.
The benefits of tomatoes on a person's health have long been documented but it's something else to think that the fruit could also be beneficial to our planet's health as well. Using bio-plastics would reduce the use of petrochemicals in Ford's manufacturing process, of course. And maybe your car would smell of pasta sauce instead of car.
Via Ford Media