Most homeowners do whatever they can to get rid of dandelions but the pesky weed could be used in the plastic of your future car. Researchers at Ford Motor Company and Ohio State University are testing the milky white substance in the root of a dandelion as a sustainable source of rubber. Ford says it could eventually be used in plastic car parts like cupholders, floor mats and interior trim. Ford could potentially use the dandelion substance as a plastics modifier, to help improve the strength of plastics. There is a certain type of dandelion that is best suited for use in plastics, a Russian dandelion that is being grown at the Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Ford needs to evaluate the substance and see how it performs in a variety of conditions and test its durability. Ford research engineer Angela Harris says “we’re always looking for new sustainable materials to use in our vehicles that have a smaller carbon footprint to produce and can be grown locally.” She says synthetic rubber is not a sustainable resource and Ford wants to minimize its use in vehicles as much as possible. In addition to the dandelion, researchers are also looking at the use of a shrub called the guayule as a natural rubber, which is provided by the Ohio State agriculture researchers and can be grown domestically. Ford is using other bio-based materials including soy-foam seat cushions, wheat-straw-filled plastic, recycled yarn on seat covers and natural fiber plastic for interiors.