One kind of collaboration we most like is when one of the partners ends up using as a raw material for their production line whatever the other partner has been considering a wasted byproduct until that moment. We’re also very keen on collaborations that can be considered highly unsuspected before they actually occur.
That’s why we were very glad when found out Ford Motor Company is collaborating with H.J. Heinz Company to explore the use of tomato fibers in developing sustainable bio-plastic materials that can be used in vehicle manufacturing.
Both brands have teamed up to explore the possibility of making unused tomato parts from ketchup production into usable materials. The researchers at Ford and Heinz are specifically looking into the feasibility of using dried tomato skins to make wiring brackets or storage bins to be installed in Ford vehicles. Heinz uses annually over two million tons of tomatoes to create Heinz Ketchup. Researchers at the company are constantly looking for innovative ways to repurpose and recycle the stems, seeds, and peelings.
The project is part of the car manufacturer efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. About 14 years ago, the research team at Ford began looking into this larger field of developing and integrating more recyled and plant-based materials in vehicles (using ingredients such as coconut, recycled cotton, rice hulls, and soy).