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Ford looks to recycled dollar bills and dandelions as potential sources of plastic

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Ford is investigating whether withdrawn currency and other materials could be used as sustainable sources of materials for its future cars.

American money tearing - flickr
American money tearing - flickr

Detroit automaker Ford is turning to out-of-circulation US paper currency as a possible material for use in its cars and another way of incorporating recycled materials. It sees potential in the shredded notes, believing that they could easily be used to create plastics for the car's interior such as bins and cupholders. It's an abundant source of material, too, as an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of notes are shredded every day. With the high price of oil, it's hardly surprising that alternative methods to produce plastic are attractive to the firm.

Dollar bills aren't the only material that show promise, though — the company is looking into dandelions as an alternative to synthetic rubber, coconuts as a reinforcement for molded plastic, and corn and sugar cane as another raw material to create a biodegradable alternative to plastic. The materials would join a number of other reclaimed and eco-friendly options already in use, like soybeans, kenaf, recycled plastic bottles, tyres, and even old pairs of jeans in an effort to reduce oil consumption and make Ford's cars and trucks more sustainable. However, there's no word on when these new materials might make it into cars.