Agave is a succulent plant, similar at a glance to the more familiar Aloe vera. It thrives in arid climates, and is native to Mexico, though many California farmers have begun raising Agave locally. It's one crop that would not struggle with the drought.

Agave farming is not without its problems, though.

It takes over a decade for agave to mature, and once it is time for harvest, the entire plant must be killed to get at its pineapple-like center -- the source of its sweetened nectar. This leaves behind a huge amount of pulp, leaves, and fiber, much of which can go to waste.

Fortunately, Ford and Jose Cuervo® are two family-owned companies that don't believe in letting things go to waste.

Jose Cuervo is shipping its excess agave fiber to Ford, which is currently developing durable bioplastics out of the organic matter. According to Debbie Mielewski, senior technical leader of Ford's materials sustainability research, using discarded materials reduces dependence on petrochemicals, lowers greenhouse emissions, and makes cars lighter weight and more efficient.

"There are about 400 pounds of plastic on a typical car," said Mielewski. "Our job is to find the right place for a green composite like this to help our impact on the planet. It is work that I'm really proud of, and it could have broad impact across numerous industries."

Thanks to Ford's farm-to-car mission, almost all new Ford vehicles in Santa Clara use soy-based seat-cushion foam. What else is Ford doing to reduce its impact on the environment? Check out the 2016 Sustainability Report, or learn more when you come in for a test drive at Frontier Ford.

Categories: Green, New Inventory