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DEC 29

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Toyota to Introduce Plant-Based Plastic in Cars

Though the phrase Ecological Plastic sounds like an oxymoron, that is just what Toyota is calling their plant-based plastic material that will be featured in next year's hybrid fleet.

Toyota will debut the new Prius with its eco-plastic at the Detroit Auto Show. The material will be used in 60 percent of the interior, in features like the door trim, trunk liner, headliner, sun visors, pillar covers and seat cushions. Toyota asserts that the new material is carbon neutral because of the reduction in life-cycle emissions compared to petroleum-based plastic.

The material has been tested for heat and shock resistance and was found to perform the same as the traditional stuff. For those who are skeptical of its source, the plants used to make the plastic are non-edible.

Though this is not the first green plastic, I think this is great innovation on the part of Toyota. Obviously, the first thing that needs to be eliminated in cars is the oil-fueled engine, but there are also many other things in cars that are crying out to be updated, like plastic interiors. It's always good to improve anything that you can, however small it may seem.

via GoodCleanTech


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written by Mick R., December 29, 2008
Henry Ford was the first to use plant based "plastics" in car production back with the original Model T. From memory it was abandoned since metal panels were considered cheaper, and as the fibre based panels were far more resilient I'd guess metal panels provided an income stream from replacement parts. (Me? Cynical? Noooo!)
written by Melody Platz, December 30, 2008
My thought is, "Will this eco-plastic degrade?" I know global warming is the most important issue, but I also secretly wish we were using materials that won't sit around in garbage dumps for longer than The Pyramids have been standing.
written by Piers Headley, December 30, 2008
Toyota are advertising that their 'eco-plastic' comes from sweet potatoes and that it will bio-degrade over time. Hardly a non-food source but at least more or less carbon neutral.
written by Scott C., December 30, 2008
One of my pet peeves is when people/companies mix up the words "environmental" and "ecological." Ecology is the study of the environment, so "ecological plastic" is plastic that pertains to the study of the environment?
written by Rogier Noort, January 01, 2009
It's not wether a crop is edible or not. It's the resources that matter. On the same acre where one grows the (edible?) sweet potatoes, one can grow real food.

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