This may be interesting for anyone looking into materials and also gives some insight into what some companies are doing now to improve on recyclability of materials. Over the past 2 decades Toyota has been working on a new material concerned with better recyclability and standardization of materials. Known as TSOP (Toyota Super Olefin Polymer), it is a thermoplastic resin which has better recyclability than the conventional reinforced composite polypropylene. It has a range of applications including the interior and exterior components of the car. Toyota is also making an effort to use polypropylene in more applications, adding to recycling opportunities and have launched a material identification system.
Cars are some of the most environmentally unfriendly products we use on a regular basis, but they are a necessary form of transportation in todays world. With the vast number of different plastics and resins that are used in their construction, they are very difficult to recycle on a component level even if the materials used are recyclable. I think that with Toyota’s introduction of this new material, they are starting to take responsibility for the products they unleash on our environment, and they are also showing the importance of recycling on an industrial scale as well as a consumer scale. Hopefully with this move toward standardization and the greater use of recyclable materials, other car manufacturers will begin to take a page out of Toyota’s book.
For more information, visit: http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/environment/recycle/design/materials.html