Is Ford becoming more like my Uncle Csaba?

Ford says its new Explorer is not only the most fuel efficient but contains recycled products and soy foam and boasts modified manufacturing methods that save materials, time and money.

The company uses words like "reinvented" and "85 percent recyclable" in its latest press release issued today.

I've long been a devotee of recycling, restoring old cars -- many of them air-cooled VWs. I recently spent $6,618.24 for a new engine in my 2000 VW Passat. I learned the hard way that timing belts should be replaced before they break.

My new engine was recycled. Factory long blocks weren't available.

Ford talked about its bio foam in 40 percent of Explorer's cushions and seat backs. In addition officials said, "The Explorer interior also incorporates sustainable materials to lessen its environmental impact. Explorer uses 25 percent recycled fiber in its interior fabrics, including seat upholstery, bolster and carpeting."

Really? Ford and other manufacturers appear to be picking up on a concept long understood by many of the world's population: Use resources wisely, don't waste stuff and save money by doing more with less.

The Hungarian side of my family grew up in the shadow of World War II. They recycled everything. My father never threw anything away as the many piles of materials in his Seattle backyard would attest. My Uncle Csaba built an entire house just outside Budapest with packing crates and scrap wood, most of it no longer than 2 feet.

It wasn't the most beautiful summer house, but he and my aunt surrounded it with lush fruit trees and colorful gardens. He spent maybe a couple hundred dollars on the place, eventually selling it and buying a new home nearby -- built by somebody else.

Is Ford learning the lessons of efficiency like my late uncle? Perhaps. Regardless, it's an interesting trend. Let's hope it continues.