60% of Toyota's vehicle interiors to use 'Ecological Plastics' in 2009

Automobile major Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has plans to increase use of plant-derived, carbon-neutral* plastics to 60% of the interior components in more vehicle models, starting with a new hybrid vehicle in 2009. The TMC newly developed plastics, collectively known as "Ecological Plastic", are to be used in scuff plates, headliners, seat cushions and other interior vehicle parts. The company was the first automaker in the world to use 100% plant-based plastics in production-vehicle interior parts when it launched the Japanese-market "Raum" in May 2003, featuring Ecological Plastic that used polylactic acid and other all-plant-based materials. The company claims that Ecological Plastic emits less CO2 during a product's lifecycle (from manufacture to disposal) than plastic made solely from petroleum; it also helps reduce petroleum use. Further, Ecological Plastic adequately meets the heat-resistance 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. The company maintains that its Ecological Plastic is equal to conventional plastics in terms of quality and productivity means that it can be used in production vehicles.
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