The closed-loop recycling system keeps costs and environmental impacts down

Ford’s move to aluminum construction for the 2015 F-150 is saving more than just weight off each truck. The automaker says between 30 to 40 percent of a typical aluminum coil is turned to scrap during the stamping process. Rather than tossing the raw material, Ford is recycling the scraps, turning it back into reusable aluminum for F-150 construction.

Producing recycled aluminum is said to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent over primary aluminum construction. It also uses much less water and energy than producing fresh aluminum. Because of this, the F-150 ranks lowest in lifetime carbon footprint of any full-size pickup, according to the Automotive Science Group. And of course, the recycling process also saves Ford on its bottom line.

The recycling process sees as much as 20 million pounds of aluminum stamping scrap per month. That roughly equates to 30,000 F-150 bodies in the largest configuration – the Super Crew with the 6.5-foot bed.

The automaker further boasted about the F-150’s eco-friendly nature in its Earth Day press release. The F-150 can achieve an impressive 26 mpg highway when configured with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 with the auto Start-Stop system and rear-wheel drive. City mileage is rated by the EPA at 19 mpg and combined mileage is rated at 22 mpg. While not the best in class, the numbers are impressive for the full-size pickup segment.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

Ford’s commitment to recycling its aluminum scraps seems like a logical choice, not only for the Earth, but also for business. When nearly 40 percent of an aluminum roll is wasted in the stamping process, something must be done to cut costs. Recycling the scraps just makes sense. Of course, the recycling process also makes for great publicity on Earth Day. What’s more, Ford’s need for recycling will exponentially increase once the 2017 Super Duty moves into production. The heavy duty utilizes nearly identical body parts as the F-150.

Regardless of Ford’s intentions, the process of recycling the scrap aluminum is an interesting one. The short video attached shows some great sense from the recycling facility, as well as the F-150’s assembly line.

2015 Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2015 Ford F-150 here.

Press Release

The toughest, smartest, most capable and safest F-150 ever is also the greenest F-150 – thanks to advanced materials like high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy and EcoBoost®engine technology.

Ford recycles as much as 20 million pounds of aluminum stamping scrap per month using the closed-loop system at Dearborn Truck Plant, which builds F-150. That is the equivalent of more than 30,000 F-150 bodies in the largest configuration – a SuperCrew body including doors, plus hood, tailgate and 6.5-foot cargo box.

Opting for aluminum over steel in new automobile construction is the best way to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, according to Oak Ridge National Lab.

Recycled aluminum avoids 95 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with primary aluminum production. It uses significantly less energy and water – another reason Ford F-150 leads the full-size truck pack in terms of lifetime carbon footprint, according to Automotive Science Group.

Weight savings from aluminum alloy helps F-150 reduce its lifetime emissions compared to the previous steel-body version. Between 30 percent and 40 percent of a typical aluminum coil is turned into scrap in the stamping process. This is recycled into new metal for the truck using the closed-loop system.

When equipped with the available 2.7-liter EcoBoost with standard Auto Start-Stop technology, F-150 4x2 has best-in-class EPA-estimated gasoline fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined (actual mileage will vary).

F-150 SuperCrew and SuperCab with available collision warning are the only trucks in their class to earn a Top Safety Pick from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. F-150 also is the only full-size, light-duty truck to earn National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s highest rating, a five-star overall vehicle score and five-star rating for driver and passenger for all crash test modes and cab configurations – SuperCrew, SuperCab and Regular Cab.[1]

Check out on Friday – Earth Day – to see the closed-loop recycling process in action.

[1] Government five-star safety ratings are part of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program ( Tests include driver and passenger front, side and side barrier and pole tests.

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