Fleets might be interested to know that the seals and gaskets within the engines powering Ford Motor Co. light and medium trucks are now being made with recycled tires mixed with what the automaker calls “bio-renewable content” such as soybeans.

The company, in partnership with Recycled Polymeric Materials (RPM), began using these materials in 2008 and have used over 2.2 million lbs. of rubber from recycled tires and 150,000 lbs. of soy to make engine seals and gaskets within 11 different 2011 model-year Ford vehicles, including the Transit Connect, F-150, F-250 and F-350 trucks.

The gaskets and seals are derived from 25% post-consumer particulate from recycled tires and 17% bio-renewable content from soy, the company said. The recycling effort has helped cut 1,675 combined tons from the 11 vehicles.

“When it comes to finding a way to use more renewable and recyclable content in our vehicles, Ford and our suppliers are looking at every part of a vehicle,” said Cynthia Flanigan, Ford’s technical leader-research and innovation. “As long as an application makes sense and upholds strict quality standards, we'll look to get these sustainable materials inside our vehicles.”

Other examples of Ford’s effort to use more sustainable materials in its vehicles include: soy foam seat cushions, wheat straw-filled plastic, recycled resins for underbody systems, recycled yarns on seat covers and natural-fiber plastic for interior components.