Operations > 

Waste Reduction

Ford has a five-year global waste-reduction plan, which details how the company will lessen its environmental impact.

Our Approach

Aiming for Zero Waste to Landfill

When a facility is given landfill-free status, it means absolutely no manufacturing waste from the facility goes to landfills (see our current waste mix below).

We’re focused on ensuring that even more of our plants and facilities become zero waste to landfill (ZWTL) sites, by implementing actions for waste reduction, including the following:

Our Focus on Waste Reduction

  1. Continue investing in new technologies and programs that minimize waste
  2. Standardize how waste is tracked and sorted at each point to make recycling and reuse easier
  3. Identify the five largest-volume waste sources of waste to landfill at each facility
  4. Partner with suppliers to increase the use of eco-friendly packaging
  5. Enable local plants to bring about waste management change

Our Current Waste Mix

  • Wastewater sludge
  • Recovered paint solids
  • Packaging waste
  • Used oils and waste solvent
  • Grinding swarf (metallic particles, abrasives and oils)
  • Other wastes

Our Performance

Delivering Our Waste Targets

We set ourselves a key stretch goal – to reduce waste to landfill by 40 percent per vehicle produced between 2011 and 2016, reflecting our continuing efforts to reduce the amount of landfill waste associated with vehicle production.

As of the publication of this report:

  • We reduced waste to landfill on a per-vehicle basis by more than 65 percent over the last five years, beating the target we set ourselves by a significant amount

  • Ford facilities globally sent approximately 26,000 metric tons of waste to landfill – a decrease of 57 percent from 2011, even though production increased almost 21 percent in the same time period

  • A total of 49 manufacturing facilities and 33 non-manufacturing facilities have achieved ZWTL status. These include the historical Ford Rouge Center and our North American World Headquarters:

    • Ford Rouge is the largest complex in our company to send no manufacturing waste to landfills and is keeping more than 14 million pounds of waste out of landfills each year

    • Located in Dearborn, Michigan; Oakville, Ontario; and Santa Fe, Mexico, our North American World Headquarters are diverting more than 240,000 pounds of waste from landfills

All our Canadian and Mexican manufacturing plants are ZWTL facilities.

Case Study

Closed-Loop Aluminum Recycling

An expansive, closed-loop recycling system has been developed at our Dearborn stamping plant, and is now in use at our Kentucky truck and Buffalo stamping plants. It’s helping us produce aluminum savings that are nothing short of monumental.

In these three plants alone, we are now recycling 5 million pounds a week of high-strength military-grade aluminum alloy – the material we use to make the Ford F-150, America’s best-selling pickup for 40 years.

Meet Chip Conrad, the Ford stamping engineer who led the design of the system that enables Ford to recycle large amounts of aluminum, one “chip” at a time.

The 5 million pounds of aluminum that we recycle every week in our Dearborn, Kentucky and Buffalo plants is enough to build 51 commercial jetliners, or more than 37,000 new F-Series truck bodies, per month.

How It Works

At the heart of this closed-loop recycling process is a large, automated vacuum system and more than two miles of tubing. As vehicle doors and fenders are stamped into shape, scrap material is shredded into chips, roughly the size of a dollar bill, which get sucked into the system and routed via a series of computer-controlled gates. The system automatically knows which of the four different grades of alloy is being stamped at a given time, then routes the material within seconds into one of four trucks standing by to send it back for reprocessing.

As we expand the use of aluminum in our product lineup, closed-loop recycling systems will be essential to the long-term viability of lightweight materials and meeting overall sustainability targets.

Our ability to recycle leads to improved fuel economy and capability for our truck customers – and helps us build more affordable, high-performing, efficient vehicles.”

Chip Conrad,Manager – Stamping Engineering, Ford Motor Company