Toyota has announced plans to use more plant-derived, carbon-neutral plastics in its vehicle components from next year.


The company has developed so called ‘ecological plastic’, which can be used in scuff plates, headliners, seat cushions and other interior parts. Toyota is aiming to use it for around 60% of interior components.


Cars that will feature the plastic will initially include the next generation Prius hybrid.


Toyota says that there are two types of ecological plastic – those that are produced completely from plant-derived materials and those made from a combination of plant- and petroleum-derived materials. Ecological plastic helps reduce CO2 produced during a product’s life cycle, compared to components produced solely from petroleum. It also helps reduce petroleum use at a time when it is becoming an increasingly expensive and less abundant product.


The automaker said ecological plastic adequately meets the heat-and shock-resistance demands of vehicle interiors through the use of various compounding technologies, such as those allowing molecular-level bonding and homogeneous mixing of plant-derived and petroleum-derived raw materials.


Toyota has used ecological plastic previoulsy in the Raum launched in May 2003 which had 100% plant-based plastic interior parts.