Gator made from recycled parts

A bonnet made from plastic bottles pulled from the Mississippi river and a storage compartment made from ground coconut are just a couple of the surprising materials used to make this concept Gator.

by Steven Vale

26 Jul 2022

The result of four years of collaboration between John Deere and Ford’s sustainable materials team, the goal in developing the prototype was to examine ways of taking waste streams and turning them into viable machine components.

The brief was to build a Gator using renewable, recycled, and recyclable materials. “It was difficult because we had to work within our current framework of production tooling,” comments Keith Shanter, senior materials engineer. “We weren’t going to invest in new tooling for a product that won’t go to market, but we did everything we could to find sustainable materials that were suitable replacements.”

In the end, the wide variety of different materials used included soya beans for the roof and doors and seat foam. Flax and hemp fibre, wheat straw and maple wood were selected for interior panels and exterior door panels are made from sugar cane with maize cob filler. A rice hull filler was used for the dashboard and the grab handles are made from recycled fishing nets.

Deere has no plans to take the concept to the production stage, but one component from this project that is in Gators produced today is a defrost louvre made out of recycled tyres.