At first glance, an automaker and a restaurant chain represent two different sectors, however, upcycling waste, regardless of where it comes from is all part of consumers’ growing conviction to improve their environmental footprints and create a closed-loop economy.
And as Restaurant Dive suggests, the collaboration between the two companies is a classic example of “one man’s trash being another man’s treasure.”Coffee waste from McDonald’s is to be turned into new, lightweight car parts under the initiative. Researchers have found that the outer skin of the coffee bean, called the chaff, comes off during the roasting process. The chaff can then be used to reinforce light-weight automobile parts.Using available technology, the chaff is heated to high temperatures under low-oxygen. Then it is mixed with recycled plastic and other additives and turning it into pellets. The pellets can then be formed into various shapes, reports Green Biz.
Even though the fast-food and auto giants have not outlined an exact date for the initiative to take place. McDonald’s is expected to direct a significant portion of its coffee chaff in North America to Ford to be incorporated into vehicle parts. according to a
press release from Ford Motors.According to the press release: “The collaboration with Ford and McDonald’s is the latest example of the innovative approaches both companies take to product and environmental stewardship. The project also involves Varroc Lighting Systems, which supplies the headlamps, and Competitive Green Technologies, the processor of the coffee chaff.”Debbie Mielewski, senior technical leader in Ford’s sustainability and emerging materials research team, said: “Now is the time to jump-start the closed-loop economy, where different industries work together and exchange materials that are either side or waste products,” according to Climate Action.