Why Materials is an Important Issue

Materials refers to both goods provided by suppliers and waste generated by our activities. To Toyota, the term means everything we use – from the raw materials and parts that are assembled into vehicles, to the laptops and office supplies we rely on every day – as well as the waste we generate, then recycle or dispose.


During the last century, the use of raw materials increased at about twice the rate of population growth. Not only is the world producing more goods, but it’s also generating more waste, and too often, waste is not recycled or disposed of properly. 


Plastics are a prime example: By 2030, plastic waste is expected to increase by more than 50%. Globally, only 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling and according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the equivalent of 2,000 garbage trucks full of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans, rivers and lakes every day.1


All this material use puts pressure on the environment. Mismanagement of materials and waste can lead to habitat destruction, biodiversity loss, stressed and depleted fisheries, land and water contamination, desertification and climate change.


Finding more sustainable ways to extract, use and manage materials would change the relationship between material consumption and economic growth for the better. Businesses are expected to play a significant role in achieving the bold and transformative steps urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) is committed to doing our part to ensure responsible and sustainable production. That's why we named "Materials" as one of our four environmental sustainability focus areas.


[1] https://www.unep.org/plastic-pollution

TMNA’s Commitment to Responsible Production

In North America, Toyota strives to use responsible production practices involving environmentally sound management of goods provided by suppliers as well as waste generated by our activities. TMNA is committed to continuous improvement, which means we look for ways to reduce the use of substances of concern, eliminate waste at the source, and reuse and recycle.

Our Materials Strategy

In North America, Toyota's materials strategy emphasizes finding ways to keep materials circulating and out of landfills. Our projects focus on:


Using Sustainable Materials

Using sustainable materials conserves natural resources and contributes to a circular economy. We strive to increase our use of sustainable materials, which include reclaimed materials and materials with recycled and/or renewable content. Using sustainable materials emphasizes using less as well as reducing toxic chemicals and environmental impacts across the whole life cycle. We continue to develop and commercialize technologies that enable the use of sustainable materials with reduced environmental impacts, such as bio-based plastics and post-industrial garment clippings, in a range of vehicle components. 


Eliminating Waste

To minimize the negative impacts our activities can have on the environment and to optimize efficiency in our operations, we practice the 3R's: Reduce waste at the source, Reuse, and Recycle. Our efforts keep materials circulating, which helps to alleviate the demand for natural resources and keeps waste out of landfills and incinerators. We recycle more than 90% of all waste from operations every year.

SDG 12

Our materials efforts support Goal #12 on Responsible Consumption and Production, one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Find Out More


One of the best ways for us to help create a positive impact on the environment is to share our expertise with others. That’s why team members participate in community events that help spread the word about the environmental and cost benefits of reducing, reusing and recycling.


Community Recycling Days

For more than two decades, Toyota has been helping team members and communities in the U.S. and Canada recycle and properly dispose of household waste. During designated collection days at various Toyota locations, team members and residents from surrounding communities are invited to drop off electronic waste, appliances, paint and other household items that are difficult to recycle or dispose. Clothing and eyeglasses are also collected and donated to those in need. Between 1994 and 2023, we have helped our communities recycle, properly dispose or donate 2.5 million pounds and counting. 

Don’t stop now, head over to the Toyota Choose Your Change page and see even more smart things you can do to make a positive environmental impact at work, home and play.