Ford fits Romanian built EcoSport SUVs with carpets made using 470 single-use plastic drink bottles and, since model launch globally in 2012, has provided a new lease of life for 650m 500ml bottles, weighing an estimated 8,262 tonnes.

Since first using recycled plastic in the Mondeo over 20 years ago, the automaker now recycles 1.2bn bottles globally per year.

"Consumers have a hugely increased awareness of the harm that simply discarding plastic can do – but we have long been on a mission to increase the proportion of recycled and renewable materials that are used in every new car we make," said materials engineer Tony Weatherhead.

Turning plastic into car carpets first involves shredding both the bottles and their caps into tiny flakes. These are then heated to 260°C and melted down before being formed in to fibres the width of a single human hair. Those fibres are spun into a yarn by twisting multiple fibres together – and it is this material that is woven into carpets. In Europe as a whole, only 30% of plastic waste is recycled.

Both the EcoSport and its EcoBoost engines are built at the assembly plant in Craiova, Romania.