What is closed-loop recycling? Put simply, it’s the practice of eliminating waste and getting the most out of all your materials.

When you’re talking about the extra pieces left behind by the cookie cutter, making use of all the dough is easy. When you’re using industrial facilities to create parts for the smartest, toughest and top-selling trucks in Canada for 51 years and counting, you face a different set of challenges.

Enter Chip Conrad, a Ford stamping engineer who led the charge to create a closed-loop recycling process that reduces waste, saves energy, and improves sustainability.

For Chip, the answer to reducing aluminum waste was as simple as his own moniker – chips! Chip and his team developed a system that cuts excess aluminum into tiny chips to be transported by an extensive tube system that runs through the assembly and stamping plants.

Not only is recycling aluminum more efficient than producing new material (it takes one-tenth the energy required to reprocess scrap aluminum than it does to make new aluminum), the material savings are huge.

Ford’s automated recycling vacuum system containing more than 3 kilometres of tubes is now in use at Dearborn stamping, Kentucky Truck and Buffalo Stamping facilities

Across all Ford production facilities, closed-loop recycling saves about 9 million kilograms of aluminum every month. That’s enough high-strength aluminum to build 51 commercial jetliners or more than 37,000 F-150 truck bodies!

The 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty body features high-strength aluminum alloy.

The use of aluminum in the body of F-Series trucks means weight savings across the lineup. This weight savings plays a role in producing better fuel efficiency compared to previous F-Series models, while some ofthe weight savings is also re-invested into expanding the capabilities of each F-Series truck.

What do you think of this recycling initiative, and how are you working to reduce waste at home? Tell us in the comments below or on Ford Canada’s Facebook page!