Ford, Burton Snowboards embrace recycled plastic fabrics

The companies are supporting separate initiatives to reincarnate plastic bottles for use as t-shirts, outwear, car seats, carpeting -- and other products.

The two things that I am about to write about have absolutely nothing to do with each, other than this one common thread: They represent corporate efforts to use recycled plastic in a completely different way than we would normally expect.

The first initiative involved a deal between PepsiCo's Mountain Dew brand and the Burton Snowboards sporting apparel and products company. The pact will see the companies work together during the 2012 and 2013 product seasons to spin recycled plastic bottles into fabrics within key products in Burton's product mix.

Snowboarder Danny Davis explains:

The first expression of the alliance will be a t-shirt collection that mixes 50 percent fabric from recycled bottles and 50 percent organic cotton. The shirts are part of the Green Mountain Project line, and the styles are called Appartus, Flake and Chairway to Heaven.

The t-shirts have a price tag of $27. Outerwear will be the focus for the next product made from the sustainable fabric.

Also this week, Ford became the first automaker to use the REPREVE fiber made from recycled plastic water bottles and post-industrial waste. The fabric is used for the seats in the new Ford Focus Electric. It is manufactured by a company called Unifi. Approximately 22 plastic, 16-ounce water bottles are used for the seat fabric of each Focus Electric.

Ford mandated in 2009 that its fabric suppliers use a minimum of 25 percent of recycled content for that model year and beyond. Since that time, 37 different fabrics have been developed for this purpose and are used in Ford vehicles. In vehicles like the Focus Electric, Ford mandates that fabrics be 100 percent sustainable.

In the future, you can expect to see Ford begin requiring this for the carpeting in its vehicles. For example, the company is using 25, 20 ounce plastic bottles for the carpeting its Ford Escape utility vehicle.

This post was originally published on