If you thought the environmental achievements of the new Toyota Prius were limited to its fuel economy and low emissions then Toyota is determined to prove you wrong.
The Japanese manufacturer has developed the world’s first injection moulded material to be derived from plant matter.
This ecological plastic has been used throughout the new Prius and will be featured widely in Toyota’s models going forward. In the short term, Toyota hopes that the ecological plastic will be used for up to 60 per cent of a car’s interior components.
The company states that there are two types of ecological plastic - one that is produced entirely from plant stuffs and another that is manufactured by a combination of plant and petrol based materials. CO2 emissions linked to ecological plastic are around 20 per cent less than for conventional plastics because much of the CO2 produced when the material is ultimately disposed of is offset by the amount of gas absorbed through photosynthesis when the plants grew.
The ecological plastic has been used for foam and injection moulded parts in the new Prius such as seat cushions and deck trim. It meets the heat and shock resistance requirements for use in vehicle interiors.