Ford says it is aiming to create a new type of adhesive for automotive use inspired by the gecko.
The automaker says the glue currently used to adhere foams to plastics and metals makes disassembling parts for recycling nearly impossible.
And it wants to change that, thanks to the humble gecko.
The gecko's toe pads allow it to stick to most surfaces without liquids or surface tension. It can then easily release itself, leaving no residue.
Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader for plastics and sustainability research, says that the gecko could inspire a host of adhesive innovations.
"Solving this problem could provide cost savings and certainly an environmental savings," said Mielewski.
"It means we could increase the recycling of more foam and plastics, and further reduce our environmental footprint."
Ford also says its designers are turning to nature to further improve the sustainable materials in vehicle fabrics. The gecko may inspire fabric technologies that could transform the cabin of Ford vehicles, researchers said.
"As we look to further our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint, taking a holistic, biomimetic approach makes sense because nature has efficiencies in design and uses minimal resources," said Carol Kordich, global sustainable fabric strategies and development, Ford.
"Nature is the ultimate guide."