Heinz ends up with a large number of byproducts while using more than two million tons of tomatoes annually to make ketchup and the hope is that the skins, peels, stems and seeds can be recycled to make a plant-based plastic.
Ford has also enlisted the help of Coca-Cola, Nike and Procter & Gamble to help create "a 100 percent plant-based plastic to be used to make everything from fabric to packaging."
"We are exploring whether this food-processing byproduct makes sense for an automotive application," said Ellen Lee, a plastics research technical specialist for Ford. "Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact."
The plastic could be used for things like wiring brackets or vehicle storage bins.
"The technology looks promising. At Heinz, we know tomatoes are good for people; now Ford will see if tomatoes can make its vehicles even more environmentally friendly."