The Waste Biz: What Ford Hopes To Learn From Lizards



Ford Motor Company wants to figure out how to recycle more materials from their vehicles; in order to reach that goal, they’re studying geckos. What would lizards have to do with reclaiming materials from cars?

Well, it turns out that one of the major things that makes many materials unrecyclable is the glue that makes foam adhere to plastics and fabrics: it can’t be removed without damaging the materials, or leaving behind a residue. Geckos, on the other hand, are able to make strong seal on surfaces – enough to support almost 300 pounds – which they can easily release, and leave nothing behind. So, the car company’s materials scientists are taking a look at how the lizards’ toe pads are able to do that.

Ford is collaborating with Proctor & Gamble to figure out how to replicate gecko toes in industrial adhesive, which would be good for the environment and the company’s bottom line. A recent day-long forum with both companies and The Biomimicry Institute helped company scientists better wrap their heads around what they can learn from these little creatures.

Fascinating stuff… Know more about adhesives? Or lizards? Share your ideas with us on how Ford and others might make this leap to glues that only stick when we want them to…

via Environmental Leader and Waste Dive

Other waste business news:

Orange peels can clean up mercury: Scientists in Australia have discovered a compound that they can use to remove mercury pollution from oceans and soils. The best part? The main component of the material, sulfur-limonene polysulphide, is derived from wastes from the petroleum industry and from citrus peels. This make this clean-up solution dirt cheap compared to other concepts and practices. (via gizmag)

Hip-hop sneaker restoration: 17-year-old Jose Armando Bustamante has figured out how to become a Youtube sensation and a successful entrepreneur. The answer: old sneakers. Through his hip hop-themed Retrosnickers channel, he shows others how to restore “vintage” sneakers; he’s also making a tidy income selling the refurbished shoes. Take a look at Complex‘s profile of this restoration mogul in the making:

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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