MATERIALS refers to both raw materials and waste. 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 properly. Plastics are a prime example: By 2030, plastic waste is expected to increase by more than 50 percent. Globally, only 14 percent of plastic packaging is collected for recycling and by 2050, the oceans may contain more plastic than fish (by weight).1


All this material use puts pressure on the environment. Mismanagement of materials and waste leads 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 growth for the better. That’s why addressing materials challenges is critical to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity that establishes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG #12: Responsible Production and Consumption aims to substantially reduce waste generation, achieve environmentally sound management of chemicals, and ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns.


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 and achieve the SDGs. Toyota is committed to doing our part to ensure sustainable production. That's why Toyota named "Materials" as one of our four environmental sustainability focus areas in North America and why, globally, it is the focus of the Recycling-Based Society Challenge in the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050.

1 The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics & Catalysing Action




Here in North America, our materials strategy emphasizes finding ways to keep materials circulating and out of landfills. Our projects focus on conserving natural resources, eliminating waste and supporting community recycling initiatives.


For detailed performance data on key metrics, visit "Materials" in the Performance chapter of Toyota's North American Environmental Report.

Conserving Natural Resources

We strive to conserve natural resources by increasing our use of sustainable materials. Using sustainable materials means using materials in the most productive way, with emphasis on using less and reducing toxic chemicals and environmental impacts across the whole life cycle. Sustainable materials include those that are renewable, recycled or recyclable, have a smaller greenhouse gas footprint, and generate less waste than their alternatives.

Team members at our assembly plant in Princeton, Indiana, reduced the amount of PVC needed by 24,000 pounds. The PVC is a plastic sprayed on the underbody of Sienna minivans to protect against corrosion and prevent fumes from entering the environment.


Eliminating Waste

To minimize the negative impacts our activities can have on the environment, 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 keep waste out of landfills and incinerators.

We focus our efforts in three areas:

Daily Operations —  Each year, our team members implement projects that either reduce waste at the source or find new ways to reuse or recycle. Team members consider every waste stream, no matter how small. We recycled more than 93 percent of waste from operations last year.

At our assembly plant in Canada, team members developed a new cleaning agent that reduces the amount of solvent used in the paint lines by 80 percent.


Construction Projects — When we build new facilities, expand or do major renovations, we pay attention to the amount of waste generated during construction and demolition.

During the construction of the Toyota Supplier Center in York Township, Michigan, 92 percent of construction waste – 461 tons of material – was diverted from landfill. The site was awarded LEED® Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.


End-of-Life Management — Since 2010, we have been collecting used hybrid vehicle batteries to promote proper end-of-life management. We aim to repair, remanufacture or repurpose battery cells to maximize the useful life of the batteries before finally recycling the components:

Since 2010, we have recovered and recycled over 160,000 hybrid vehicle batteries, totaling over 10.5 million pounds.

Supporting Community Recycling

One of the best ways for us to help create a net 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.

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 2021, we have helped our communities recycle, properly dispose or donate more than 2.3 million pounds and counting.



Toyota has been developing five-year environmental action plans for 30 years. These plans help us manage our impacts and hold us accountable for our performance.

Here in North America, we recently announced our new five-year environmental action plan for fiscal years 2022 to 2026. This plan is our seventh and runs from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2026. Our first report on progress against these targets will be published in 2022.

Each five-year action plan puts us further along the path to achieving the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 (Challenge 2050). Challenge 2050 is a set of six challenges that seek to go beyond eliminating environmental impacts to creating net positive value for the planet and society. The six challenges are the most demanding and most inspiring environmental commitments Toyota has ever made.

The RECYCLING-BASED SOCIETY CHALLENGE calls on Toyota affiliates around the world to support a recycling-based (circular) economy by conserving natural resources and eliminating waste. For more information about Toyota’s 2050 materials strategy for North America, see Materials: Toyota Motor North America Position Statement." "

Find out more by visiting IDEAS & ACTIONS and the North American Environmental Report

Our new materials targets are to: