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Ford set challenging target to reduce European waste and slash water bills

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The company said it will significantly increase the proportion of waste recycled and reused while cutting landfill waste by 70%. That means a reduction in the average landfill waste generated per vehicle to 1.5kg by 2016, from 5kg in 2011.

At the ISO14001-accredited Ford Dagenham Estate in the UK, the environmental team actively pursues Ford of Europe environmental objectives. Out of the entire annual waste produced at Dagenham (5,937 tonnes in 2011), 85 per cent is recycled and 15% currently goes to landfill. Dagenham Engine Plant is currently working on an ‘oil reclamation’ process which if successful, will eliminate virtually all of the remaining 15% landfill.

And, based on an annual production of 1.2m vehicles, Ford also will reduce water use by 30 per cent, saving €2.3 million over the same period and approximately 1.3bn litres per year. This equates to an average saving of 1,100 litres for each car or van produced.

'This plan represents our pledge to minimise Ford’s impact on the environment both before and after our customers get behind the wheel,' said Stephen Odell, chairman and chief executive officer, Ford of Europe. 'This goes hand in hand with our commitment to develop the most fuel efficient vehicles. Sustainability makes just as much sense for Ford as a business as it does for the environment.'

The announcement builds upon previous actions that have helped Ford of Europe become the global company’s lowest producer of landfill waste. Ford of Europe has cut landfill-waste generation by 40% since 2007 and reduced water use by 37% over the same period.

In the UK, The Ford Dagenham Estate has also taken several actions over the last five years to initiate a downward trend of water usage on the estate. In 2011, 16m litres of water were used – 26% fewer than in 2006, when 22m litres were used for operations.

The new Ford of Europe commitment covers manufacturing in Genk in Belgium, Valencia in Spain, Saarlouis and Cologne in Germany as well as Southampton, Bridgend and Dagenham in the UK. Genk, Saarlouis and Cologne had previously taken significant steps to reduce landfill waste and are now all waste-to-landfill free. 

Ford says it will initially work internally and closely with partners to reduce the resources used in production; then, reduce the quantity of waste from that production; and finally, ensure that as much waste as possible is recycled or used to generate energy.

Production of Ford’s new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine in Cologne takes one such approach. The introduction of a new production line and new manufacturing techniques reduced water use by 37% compared to the manufacturing line it replaced. One part of the process sees the amount of coolant used to produce aluminum engine parts reduced from two litres to five millilitres.

'Sustainable processes enable us to make car production leaner and more cost-efficient. It’s both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do,' said Ford of Europe Manufacturing director Dirk Heller.

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